Daniel Maidman reviews the exhibition The Big Picture at the New York Academy of Art, on view through March 2, 2014.
Maidman writes that the show is "a rare opportunity to see large-format paintings by a notable shortlist of contemporary painters: Vincent Desiderio, Eric Fischl, Neo Rauch, Jenny Saville and Mark Tansey. These painters have all confronted the problem of what to do with a disturbingly large picture plane, and each has found his or her own mode of filling the space. The theme of the show is not so much the largeness of the work itself, but the problem of filling the space. This is a fascinating dilemma. It tests the artist, not only as a technician and formalist, but as a visionary. Does the vision expand to fill the daunting space?"
Howard Hurst reviews the exhibition The Big Picture at the New York Academy of Art, on view through March 2, 2014.
Hurst writes that "we’ve been desensitized [to large-scale art work]. And because it’s so often overdone, I find myself increasingly critical of it. Yet, I walked into the exhibition space at the New York Academy of Art recently and was blown away. The current exhibition The Big Picture presents a surprising and considered look at an alternate kind of large-scale painting. Five figurative artists — Vincent Desiderio, Eric Fischl, Neo Rauch, Jenny Saville, and Mark Tansey — involved with the institution in some way present monumental canvases based at least partly on the human figure. What immediately struck me was that, despite their size, the works on display are all of a relatively intimate and human scale. Sure, the works are physically huge (they elevate a medium often associated with the easel and moderation to a hulking epic-ness); however, they also feel relatable, accessible."
John Seed interviews painter Vincent Desiderio about his work on the occasion of an exhibition at Marlborough Gallery, New York, on view through February 8, 2014.
Desiderio remarks: "a successful painting remains in constant motion; evoking a sense of the perpetual present tense of being. It remains open ended, thus facilitating the flow of artistic thought that is always and everywhere streaming through the history of painting. However, painting's greatest strength lies in its stasis, its capacity to produce the coup d'oeil, the momentary freezing of this motion. Recently my work has taken on a density that underscores the materiality of the image, a move diametrically opposed to the screen image or the photograph. I see this as related to the radical materiality of Courbet and his Socialist concerns. My pictures now have a technical weight, and so, a palpable presence that I feel more comfortable with. I tend to dwell on the staging of the technical procedures so that visual information is emitted at varying degrees of intelligibility and speed. From the start, I recognize that the real idea of the picture resides in the way materials are coaxed into meaning."
Desiderio comments: "I really cannot speak to the idea of figurative painting as something apart from abstract painting or conceptual painting. It would be nice if I could but I don’t really think in terms that make a significant distinction between these approaches. I wince when I am referred to as a figurative painter. I am a painter. As a result, I have difficulty identifying what exactly constitute the fundamentals of drawing and painting. I know that a so called classical education can be beneficial when one wishes to acquire certain types of skill and that programs that offer this type of training are enjoying a renewed popularity among young artists. However I am wary of the rote academic (in the pejorative sense) nature of such an approach. More often than not this pedagogical method tends to imprison student forcing them to force their imaginations into forms that may be inappropriate. When we make a painting we are building a psychologically charged sensual space of possibilities. We can build it as a prison of as an observatory. I prefer the latter."
Donald Kuspit reviews the recent exhibition Vincent Desiderio at Marlborough Chelsea, New York.
Kuspit writes: "Narrative, drama, the indecent human story... returns with an ironical vengeance in Vincent Desiderio's paintings... Even as Desiderio attempts to achieve a new modern classicism... he cannot help but suggest the black shadow that modernism has cast over art."
Rebecca Harp writes about painting which she considers to be a "verbal, therapeutic version" of thinking about painting. She considers specifically the qualities of abstraction that are meaningful to a figurative painter.
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.