Phong Bui interviews painter Tal R, whose show Altstadt Girl is on view at Cheim & Read, New York, through February 14, 2015.
R comments: "What I want is to stay very close to a kind of impulse that evokes a narrative without the necessary details. This impulse for me feeds action. I develop this relationship for a while and then I have to go out again to restart it all over again. When I sit in a hotel room and I want to draw a stranger, I don’t mind when the eyes and the ears are not correct. What I care about is whether the drawing is alive, or if it can breathe. Years ago I went to the Edvard Munch museum to see his paintings, as well as seeing other works by his contemporaries in Scandinavia like Anders Leonard Zorn, Richard Bergh, Eero Järnefelt, just to name a few at the National Museum in Olso. There was such a contrast between everything they had painted, from the figure, the house in the forest, the moon to a dog and everything else, and the Munch paintings where all the details fail. But what is moving and alive in Munch’s paintings, which the others miss, is the air that breathes in and out of the images at all times. I always feel Munch kept his gun pointed all the time at the target where impulse and action are both right at the edge."
James Kalm video blogs a close look at the paintings on view in the exhibition Tal R: Altstadt Girl at Cheim & Read, New York, on view through February 14, 2015.
Kalm observes that the paintings developed out of the artist's "habit [of making] drawings of strangers in local hotel rooms. References to art historic subjects also enrich the content of these paintings and exploit the painter's exquisite touch and sense of the painter's medium."
The press release notes that the paintings "rest on the anxiety of an uncertain exchange. This provides [Tal R's] work with palpable intensity and, as he notes, 'awkwardness,' and is further emphasized by his use of saturated color and off-kilter compositions. Though central to the image, the female figures merge with their patterned, object-filled environments, often becoming abstracted or distorted. Tal R toys with perception and perspective, both actual and psychological, within the boundaries of narrative space, echoing the shifting rapport between the artist and his anonymous subject."
James Kalm visits the exhibition Tal R: The Shlomo at Cheim and Read, New York, on view through January 12, 2013.
In the Tal R's work, Kalm notes "connections to paintings by the Fauves or other early Expressionists like Klee, Kirchner or Macke. These images appear like pictures taken from a dream museum of early Modernism. Switching mediums from thick luscious oil paint, to the dry luminous fields of rabbit skin glue distemper, has also created a stir within the painting community."
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.