From the poscast post intrduction: "In his own words, Auerbach is suspicious of too much thinking: 'thinking about thinking', he says, 'isn’t true thinking…If one’s really thinking, one’s not aware of it'. Doing, for the artist, is everything."
Nicholas Wroe profiles painter Frank Auerbach. An exhibition of Auerbach's work will be on view at Tate Britain from October 9, 2015 - March 13, 2016.
Wroe writes: "... why has [Auerbach] adhered to a regime over much of the last 60 years that is far more restrictive than anything an employer would impose, often working seven days and five nights a week and barely leaving the small patch of north London near the studio where he both works and sleeps? 'Well, [Auerbach comments] you start to realise that painting is not quite as easy as you thought. In fact what you are doing isn’t really painting at all. You gradually see how much of a historical backlog there is, and if you don’t take it into account you are doing nothing more than fiddling about. At first I had to struggle to find the time to work, and then when I got a bit of time it seemed absolutely bonkers not to use it for painting."
Josephine New writes about the paintings of Simon Ling.
New observers: "At the heart of Ling’s practice are two preoccupations. Firstly, his fascination with making ‘something’ (a painting) out of ‘nothing’ (a uniformly overlooked corner of an urban housing estate, say). Secondly, perhaps more significant, is the understanding that the imagination is partnered with the external acts of vision and touch... Ling ... talks about a different ‘texture of decision-making’, that is ‘sharper, healthier and quicker’ when painting directly from life. This ‘live’ element, as he terms it, adds to the contemporaneity of the works. The pace of the marks and the time spent observing each detail are all savoured by the artist as an integral part of his method. You can almost piece together each element of a building, as if hung on (albeit wonky) planes: his doorways, for instance, are characteristically off-kilter, as though they had been painted on an easel rocking on an undulating pavement."
Weiss writes that Estes' "cityscapes are straightforward in their depiction of surfaces—usually architectural but occasionally organic—and as free of social commentary as one could imagine. Nor do they go out of their way to glamorize the city. Estes’ paintings are devoted, above all, to the compositional busyness that New York’s surfaces offer. Often painted under a sunlight that is clean and flat, the shimmering exteriors of Estes’ New York appear to be immaculate replicas of their subjects... The surfaces of Dubrow’s canvases are, as the gallery describes them, almost geological in appearance. Paint has been troweled onto the canvases in patterns that appear carefully designed, yet which surely shifted in the process of painting and repainting. The crusted pigment has accreted to such a density that even the hard edges of architectural planes are softened at the meeting of seams. Unvarnished, the geometric patterns have a raw tactility that belies their high-key color—a child’s sunlit shirt in Playground appears to have been spontaneously painted wet-into-wet with a brush, and the brio of the passage is welcome."
John Seed interviews painter Nathan Lewis whose exhibition Light is the Lion is on view at Fernando Luis Alvarez Gallery, Stamford, Connecticut through April 18, 2015.
Lewis comments: "I've always loved exploring abandoned spaces. 2011 is when I first decided to paint them. I've always been more of a figure painter and object (form) oriented. The factories were a departure from that mode of thinking and more related to settings. Although figures are in most of the paintings, the architecture and composition play a larger role in the psychology of the piece. Some of these spaces that are collapsing provided an experience of light that was uncommon and made me contemplate anew the strangeness and beauty of light. I think that is what prompted me to the series of works. The unfamiliar forms provided the challenge of inventing new personal translations of what I saw and felt into the formal language of painting. The factories themselves are ruins of an industriousness that is foreign to us today."
Chippendale comments extensively on observational painting and studying with painter George Nick: "Observational painting, I learned, was not a mimetic art form. We were not in the business of copying or duplicating what was before us, but of transposing it through paint, and through the forms we each adopted as individual painters. Our goal was not to match or try to outdo what nature did best, but to interpret it through metaphors that were 'parallel' and in every way 'true' to the facts we perceived, except in being literal about them. Ideas of 'truth' in observational painting were, accordingly, not limited to ideas of 'likeness' or verisimilitude. One could be absolutely true to the richness of one’s perceptions without being literal about them, in the same way that poetry can bear witness with great precision to truths and realities that lie far outside of, and are in fact inexpressible within, the jurisdiction of the literal. I found observational painting richly full of paradoxes and contradictions, often vexingly so. Nick taught me to think more with my brush. I learned from him that making was itself a form of expressed thought, and that solutions were to be found in painting itself. Standing before the easel, considering the variables that arose in my paintings with every passing moment, I learned that it was ultimately important to act—to paint—in clear material terms, and sooner rather than later. If recklessness was the consequence, and errors and mistakes the result, then these were simply the facts and uncertainties of painting. Risk, in Nick’s view, would forever trump cautiousness, and I inferred from his approach, which I came largely to adopt myself, that being overly guarded and calculating in painting was ultimately a dishonest act."
Responding to a question about "looking at nature closely as a means of getting out of your head," O'Reilly comments: "I think that it stops me being self-conscious because it’s not something that I carefully set up and have this serious thought about which object goes where or even if it’s just shapes, I can get paralyzed pretty easily with that. If I’m outside, there is all this world of things that I’m stimulated by so when that self-conscious element is gone I’m freed up. I suppose it offers new solutions all the time because you’re looking with a fresh eye even if I go back to the same place over and over, which I do. It’s never the same. It’s a different day, the light is different, something has changed, something got moved; especially in the city. It changes daily and even along the canal it changes a lot. I go out one day and I notice a particular plant hanging over the canal, I go out another day and see a yellow truck sitting by a building, so I’m stimulated by something without a preordained idea of what I’m going to paint. I wander around and think that looks interesting, it presents itself."
August Kleinzahler reviews Richard Estes’ Realism at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, on view through February 8, 2015.
Kleinzahler writes: "Estes is identified with the photorealist school of painting. With their glossy, often hard finish, an almost enamelled quality, and photographic degree of verisimilitude, his work looks at home in that context. But it might be more useful to compare his pictures with those of the veduta painters of the 17th and 18th centuries, with Vermeer’s View of Delft and The Little Street, or the views of Venice by Canaletto and the Guardis. ... his interest in reflection ... seems to have been ignited by the pictures he saw at the National Gallery during his travels as a young artist: small Turner watercolours ‘with distorted reflections in windows – or mirrors perhaps’, Van Eyck’s The Arnolfini Portrait, in which the mirror behind the couple reflects two figures at the door and The Rokeby Venus by Velásquez, in which she admires her own reflection in a mirror – all these pictures, Estes says, ‘seemed to open up a lot of possibilities for 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.