Shirley Kandea interviews painter Juan Uslé about his work and career. Uslé's works were recently on view in his exhibition Al Clarear at Frith Street Gallery, London.
Towards the end of the interview Kandea asks: "I think painting, unlike other mediums, has a tremendous history that can’t be ignored. The painter always has to work with this history even if it’s about emptying out that history. Would you agree?" Uslé responds: "I understand that your question refers to what I call a voice, or an invitation to a peculiar view—some works have that, and it seems timeless. No matter how many times you might see that work, you always find the thread that you’re never done unraveling. For me, painting’s legitimacy depends on that voice—that prevailing, inexhaustible quality, much more than on its circumstantial use value, technical factors, material conditions, its social or historical context, and those sorts of attributes which are so important to those who need to organize things. For me a pictorial gaze avoids those eschatologies."
David Carrier considers two exhibitions: Shirley Kaneda: Space Without Space at Galerie Richard (through May 28) and Robert Mangold at Pace Gallery (closed).
Carrier writes: "A great deal of contemporary art mimics advertising images, which seek to deliver a potent visual punch all-at-once. The abstract paintings of Shirley Kaneda and Robert Mangold – a very different style of visual art– solicit close slow looking... There are abstract painters who work in series and those who do not. Mangold proceeds as if he was trying to paint many variations on one painting. (This procedure was more evident in his previous exhibitions of recent work than this one.) By contrast, Kaneda offers a more open vision of the processes of art making, for her activity isn’t bounded by any pre-determined structure. Mangold’s structures, like the ripples created by a stone cast in water, encourage you to look by moving your eyes from the outside of his pictures into the empty center. Kaneda, who has a very different visual susceptibility, keeps your eye on the entire surface of her all-over compositions."
In separate interviews, Tyler Green talks to painters Shirley Kaneda and Jonathan Lasker about the exhibition Conceptual Abstraction at Hunter College Art Galleries, New York, on view through November 10, 2012. Green begins both very interesting conversations by asking each artist the same question: "Is there a meaninful difference being an abstract painter in 1990 and in being an abstract painter in 2012?"
Kaneda begins her response: "There was a lot of re-defining and re-aligning going on in terms of abstract paintings at the time, and it seemed to be a very optimistic time... There is very little critical dialogue around abstraction today, whereas 20-25 years ago there was a lot of critical dialogue around it."
Lasker responds that he feels there is "a huge difference really. The big thing about painting is that there really haven't been a tremendous number of new issues coming forward in the last 20 years. There's been a lot of dispersion of issues, and a lot of people painting from a lot of different aspects and ideas... The last 20 years has had a lot of interesting artists, a lot of good artists, and some good young painters emerging too, but in the sense of bigger issues and big ideas, there hasn't been that much."
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.