Judy Glantzman considers Dawn Clements' Peonies (2014).
"Dawn Clements’ giant watercolor on paper, capturing dying peonies, is achingly beautiful. Her touch is light, her eye, and hand in a lock step; the drawing is a placeholder for where the peonies once were. The power is Dawn’s intense scrutiny, the quiet power of an unnamable truth... The peonies stand like two, heroic giants, “Before” and” After”, “Front” and “Back” as if their once beautiful bodies sag with battle wounds. The drawing is quixotic, the melancholic impossibility of containing an ephemeral life force. The paper’s folds make an irregular grid, a trellis for the writhing peonies. Gaps and overlays, paper cut out and replaced, we experience the many facets of time at the same time as we experience the drawing as one instant."
Einspruch writes: "Heliker arrived at his figuration having sampled surrealism at its height in the ‘40s and abstraction at its height in the ‘50s, and having befriended a circle of New York artistic innovators including Merce Cunningham and John Cage. Thus the works he produced on Great Cranberry, despite that some of them could fairly be called New England genre scenes, possess enormous sophistication, a profound contemplation about the nature of art that joins sensitivity, training, and erudition in a manner that hardly anyone calling himself an artist today can match."
Stevens on Pearlstein: " there is a special and subtle pleasure in Pearlstein’s work that people frequently don’t see. It is a lifelong engagement with the same room, the same light, models, rugs, objects, etc., that reveal in their nuanced differences an inexplicable richness, a life lived in looking."
Carbonne on De Niro, Sr.: "Where Pearlstein relies on the slowly-achieved tonal articulation of forms, De Niro is all about broad masses of color holding forms in space while locking those shapes into the surface.
Carbonne on van Bart: "Drawing is the central expressive vehicle in these works; color is secondary to line and tone, mostly serving as an accent to off-white, taupe or grey tones... [van Bart's] lines vary between precisely confident, but without a searching quality, and mannered to appear quivery. If a bit illustrational, they nevertheless project an intriguing quality of enchantment."
Sharon Butler blogs about two exhibitions - Don't Look Now at Zach Feuer in New York (closed) and New Image Painting at Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago (August 23 - October 4, 2014).
Butler writes that both shows "[suggest] that a renewed interest in traditional genres--portrait, still life, landscape--is thriving within the painting community... That galleries are positioning a new kind of painting to replace what they (and many critics) see as a tired form of abstraction is a salutary development and very different from the days when the objectness of Minimalism, performance, installation, and electronic media challenged painting."
Murphy comments: "I used to just say all representational painting is narrative. But I think it is all narrative, and I think form can be subject... I ... considered how I could make these two things— form and subject—mutually inclusive, not exclusive. How do I make these two things depend on one another so that they can’t be separate but neither can be denied? How do I get the pitch of both of them equal but somehow supportive of one another? That is what I’ve been trying to do for a long time. But it took a long time to understand, or even have the courage to do. One of the reasons I decided that subject really matters is that people buy paintings according to the subject. I have yet to meet someone who bought a painting of a subject they wanted nothing to do with, simple as that. When I love a painting, that’s part of why I love it too. I see paintings abstractly, first and foremost, but if it’s going to be a representational painting, if it’s going to be a Descent from the Cross, I’m not going to be blind to that."
Kessler writes: "Except for Cézanne's early dark, heavily impasto paintings, I don’t see his work as solid, heavy and immobile, the way they're usually described. Just the opposite. I experience them as unstable, weightless volumes of elusive, colored light... Bottles are asymmetrical, tables are tilted up, the composition changes point of view, volumes flatten out (probably because they are often outlined in black), and figure and ground sometimes merge. All these thing create tension because the mind seeks harmony and balance, and when it’s not there, the brain will create it. From the corner of my eye, I often see the illusion of objects – apples, plates, bottles, etc. – move. The forms seem to wobble, float and shift in space. At minimum, I feel the tension."
Scott Indrisek profiles painter Gina Beavers whose paintings were recently on view at Retrospective Gallery, Hudson, New York.
Indrisek writes that Beavers'"paintings aren’t simple reproductions of the ubiquitous 'this is what I ate today' images shared via social media. 'If I paint something directly from a photo it looks like a copy,' she explained. Beavers constructs a base for the image, generally using thickened acrylic medium that she carves and moves with a simple plastic deli knife. Once the representative shapes are built, she paints on top of them; the finished works have a lumpy, physical quality, as if you could indeed scoop them off the wall and devour them. The artist mixes in various other agents in order to achieve specific effects, like the dappled skin on raw duck legs. Beaver’s topographic surfaces have a gnarly depth, flirting with intentional kitsch, a bit like the dimensional tableaux of Lynn Foulkes. 'Building up [the work] interferes with my ability,' she said. 'It looks a little more handmade. The painting is trying to mess with me, and I’m trying to calm and tame it.'"
Samet writes that the "defining characteristic of De Niro’s work is the line: the arabesque that rounds the form of the female figure, the guitar, the vase, and the brusque angles that define table edges, houses, windows. He uses these marks even to cover deeply saturated color areas. These gestural outlines have the energy of Abstract Expressionism, yet, if Willem de Kooning deconstructed forms, De Niro put them back together. Perhaps this is why Storr speaks of 'pleasure,' why the painter Paul Resika, interviewed for the film, admires his precociousness... De Niro painted like the French symbolists he admired: a repetition of forms and motifs symbolizing ideals: beauty, sensuality, music, poetry. He was reductive rather than graphic: expressing a feeling rather than a narrative. It is clear from both the quality of his line and his writings on art that he valued understatement. He suggests distinct gestures, figural poses, and objects with an economy of means, accuracy, and reserve."
Einspruch writes that in the 1950s, "Bay Area Figuration, an undersung movement (undersung relative to Pop, anyway) of west coast painting and sculpture that took the discoveries of then-recent abstraction and applied them to figurative subjects... something novel yet as visually luscious as AbEx... A small sampling, but an excellent one, is on display at the Yale University Art Gallery ... in contrast to the Yale show, where the artists are using the methods of abstraction to make figurative paintings, Bailey is doing the converse. The objects and spaces are drawn with a precision that harkens to Charles Scheeler, but his objective is to work the color field, making arrangements of shapes based on the Umbrian palette that has terra rosa, yellow ochre, and cobalt blue as its primaries."
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.