Brian Dupont reviews an exhibition of new work by Wade Guyton at Petzel Gallery, New York, on view through February 22, 2014.
Dupont writes that all of Guyton's paintings "function as wry comments on their own making, existing both as paintings and 'paintings'; the level of quotation and reserve would seem to preclude Guyton from risking failure on the messy and labor intensive investigation that might lead to a new body of work, a new approach, or a new idea. Instead, Guyton has chosen to focus on the quotation marks, using the paintings as a lens to focus in on the environment and act of looking at the paintings. ... These compositional strategies draw parallels to Richard Serra’s use of steel plates as a way to measure and change the gallery space via mass. The surface similarities of steel and printed linen are superficially similar, and while Guyton’s use of black and white achieves a level of austerity that Serra might envy, he doesn’t affect the space in the same way... Guyton’s paintings lack Serra’s attention to inherent tension, the black rectangles’ measures are arbitrary and don’t push back against the viewer or the space. Just as the final two paintings at the Whitney measured the walls between Breuer’s iconic window without doing much else, these chart a space that is primarily notable for its blankness."
James Kalm visits the exhibition Xstraction at The Hole, New York. The exhibition features work by 32 contemporary abstract painters.
The press release states that the show examines trends in "textile-based and 'craftstraction'", paintings influenced by "digital aesthetics," "trodden-upon, dirtied, worn out or even 'entropic' abstraction," and "un-painterly abstraction" in the works of a younger generation of painters.
Kalm's video walkthrough looks at "commonalities and techniques employed by this generation of artists. Includes views of works by: Adam Henry, Andrew Sutherland, Angel Otero, Anoka Faruqee, Chris Johanson, Cory Arcangel, Gerhard Richter, Kadar Brock, Mark Flood, Sam Moyer, Thomas Øvilsen, Trudy Benson, Wade Guyton, Wendy White, Xylor Jane."
Thomas Micchelli reviews Xstraction at The Hole, New York. The exhibition features work by 32 contemporary abstract painters.
Michelli writes that "there are only a few paintings here that are startling in their originality, but despite their sheen of newness, their relationship to antecedents is very much in evidence. This is not a criticism; to the contrary, it’s a major factor in the richness of their aura (a word I use advisedly). The rest of the works in the show appear to be earnestly made, but their conversion of past practices (abjection and process are especially pervasive) for the here and now do not register as particularly imperative."
Mark Stone argues that the image and the being it communicates is missing in contemporary abstract painting.
Stone writes: "In the 21st Century the subject of our painting, especially abstraction, is not directed at the lives we live, or more specifically, at the world that we see and experience. Rather we abstract painters have been more concerned about eradicating visual confrontation with being/images. We are more comfortable with warped re-presentations of style. We prefer the documentation of our painting processes over the depiction of visual things. The rhetoric around this iconoclasm is just as predictable. It’s usually accomplished when the artist states that the process, even though it is the subject of the painting, is actually inconsequential, a byproduct. We no longer deny the accidental as Pollock famously did. We claim no control of the image, no framing of the processes. The Postmodern artist removes himself from processes altogether, claiming that the artist is not, should not be, involved in the making of images whatsoever. The painting, the document, becomes a found object. The recent retro-tinged conversations online over Wade Guyton’s use of a printer in making his handsomely banal abstract paintings is a perfect example of the intellectual emptiness of this current moment. The point is to remove the icon maker, and in doing that, to remove the icon. It’s almost as if one can only paint if one intends not to do so. Since the sanctification of Duchamp at the beginning of our Postmodern era, every painting emerging from our studios comes equipped with its own mustache."
Klaus Kertess weighs in on the much discussed exhibition Wade Guyton: OS at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, on view through January 13, 2013.
Kertess notes that "it was with a combination of trepidation and anticipation that I took my first journey to Wade Guyton’s survey exhibition at the Whitney Museum. When I agreed to write about the show, I was guided by a kind of didacticism that told me I could use a new experience and shouldn’t simply accept the opinions of a few negatively inclined friends. I had to resist donning the armor of painterliness, as had long been my wont. And to my surprise, Guyton’s exhibition, curated by the Whitney’s Scott Rothkopf, by far outshines the monographic exhibitions I had seen in the previous months. Not organized chronologically, the installation incorporates freestanding walls throughout the gallery space that function like giant pages of an illustrated book. It bends the museum’s third-floor space in a totally idiosyncratic way and feels personal and coldly calculated almost at the same time. The work energizes the galleries, encourages contemplation, and challenges conventional thinking about what constitutes drawing and what painting."
Tom McGlynn reviews the exhibition Wade Guyton OS at the Whitney Museum, New York, on view through January 13, 2012.
McGlynn writes: "The work displayed on the museum’s third floor includes painting, sculpture and collage and if one ran through and peripherally scanned the ensemble it might well serve as a survey of “triumphant” American art ranging chronologically from abstract expressionism to post-painterly abstraction to minimalism. Barnett Newman’s Stations of the Cross cycle immediately comes to mind in one of Guyton’s large series of black, inkjet-printed, stretched-linen panels. The rhetoric of the screen grab, scanner and ink jet printer displaces the humane existential stance of Newman’s work." McGlynn continues: "Guyton’s work contains many of the formal elements that I enjoy in a peculiarly American visual rhetoric from Stuart Davis to Christopher Wool. These include slab-like lateral color, generic quotidian fragments, ridiculous scale, open-ended rhythmic composition, parallax optics, sloppy paint application, etc. The problem I had with achieving a fresh view of Guyton’s work was that the clear influences of Davis, Noland, Kelly, Martin, Stella, Warhol, were never fully synthesized into a newer aesthetic that might define the artist as a 'strong poet' in the present."
Deborah Barlow posts selections from an ongoing conversation on Jerry Saltz's Facebook page about the exhibition Wade Guyton: OS at The Whitney Museum, New York, on view through January 13, 2013.
There are nearly 800 responses to Jerry Saltz's comment: "Last week some of you claimed that Wade Guyton’s paintings aren’t paintings. Some called them “prints” or “mono-types” or other things. Some said they’re not art at all because “he doesn’t touch them.” (In fact he’s perpetually tending & tugging the linen as it comes out of the printer.) In regards to categories like painting: Dislocations, adjustments, ruptures, and expansions are always happening. Always have. Always will. Let go of the neatness of identification (see Plato’s Cave). Painting doesn’t need anyone’s protection. Like love, let painting do what it does. Or not."
Perl writes that the press materials refer to "abstraction as 'a painting tradition that was once seen as essentially reductive' and 'monolithic and doctrinaire' - but has 'now become expansive.' In what sense were seminal abstract artists such as Kandinsky or de Kooning ever reductive? And what is more reductive than Warhol’s silly attempt at an all-over abstract painting included in this show, the bewilderingly boring 35-foot expanse of army surplus patterning entitled Camouflage? ...There is nothing in this show - neither the labyrinthine spatial visions of Julie Mehretu nor the impacted collage surfaces of Mark Bradford - that doesn’t have its origins in abstract painting long before Warhol got to work with his silkscreens."
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.