Yau writes that the show presents "11 paintings by artists committed to working from observation. Chronologically, the artists span five decades (or generations), with Lois Dodd and Lennart Anderson, born respectively in 1927 and 1928, being the oldest. The youngest include Gideon Bok, Anna Hostvedt, Sangram Majumdar and Cindy Tower, with Bok and Tower born in the 1960s, and Hostevedt and Majumdar born in the 1970s. The other artists are Susanna Coffey, Rackstraw Downes, Stanley Lewis, Catherine Murphy, and Sylvia Plimack Mangold, who were born between 1938 and 1949. Together, these artists — a number of whom have been influential teachers — suggest that observational painting is a vigorous, various, and imaginative enterprise that continues to fly under the radar."
In a three part video interview, Haniya Rae visits the studio of painter Sangram Majumdar.
Of his recent work Majumdar remarks: "Being someone who works with a certain amount of observation and looking at things, I wanted to… compress a space I was familiar with through day to day interaction, like my studio, against a space that I'm familiar with more through memory… and try to pull those things together, literally… complicating within the painting a physically experience space and then a space that literally doesn't exist anymore."
Regarding observation based painting, Majumdar notes: "I have always been an image-based painter, regardless of the source, be it photography, working from life, or pure invention. Often the reason I start with something physical and actual is because it gives me something to fight against. There's an immediacy to the experience that gets actualized through paint. But I also work from photos, memory end maquettes. Over the last couple years, I have been doing a series of paintings that take everyday objects and 'cast' them in a theatrical manner in my studio -- a place I often think of as a stage-set.' Basically, I am open to all sources. Painting for me becomes a way to undo the logic, and create a space that is interstitial and ephemeral."
Majumdar remarks that "Things you think about when you're painting, to me, it's interesting… I'll be painting… and I'm daydreaming about a moment of the painting somewhere else. Some people when they work from life they're very much attuned to what they're observing, I often find when I work… I'm starting with something very straightforward and observing what is happening and then trying to find echoes of that in other parts of the painting."
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.