John Seed interviews painter Wayne Thiebaud on the occasion of the exhibition Wayne Thiebaud: Memory Mountains at Paul Thiebaud Gallery, San Francisco, on view through December 21, 2013.
Discussing the theme of the show, Thiebaud comments; "There was the sort of opposite aspect of venerating them and having them be spiritual sources. That extreme -- from the sublime to the silly -- was something that interested me. One was the idea of humor: how I can find a seriousness in mountains -- which can be as sublime an idea as anything -- but then go all the way to a kind of silliness or ridiculousness. I find it ridiculous how we name them: oh, things like 'The Devil's Woodpile.' ... Another idea was the idea of position of mountains. We mostly see them -- and almost have to see them -- from afar, unless we are walking in them or hiking in them or driving in them. There is this tendency to see mountains pretty much in the distance and I just wondered what would happen if you tried to get them as close as possible. It seems that they are almost coming to overwhelm you: or that they seem somewhat ominous in their character."
Klein writes: "If Edward Hopper can be called the painter of the East coast certainly Wayne Thiebaud can be considered the painter of the West coast. What Thiebaud represents is post war America, what we’ve made, built, lived in and called our own. He champions a vocabulary of the commonplace and like his hero Morandi he makes monumental compositions from the simple and the ordinary; objects that you and I could find in our home on a shelf or in the garage. Not surprisingly Thiebaud can paint on a variety of scales and with a variety of materials as the works in this exhibition demonstrate. Nothing diminishes the impact of their character; one that is revelatory in color, light and execution."
John Yau reflects on the work and legacy of painter Wayne Thiebaud on the occasion of the exhibition Wayne Thiebaud: A Retrospective at Acquavella Galleries, New York, on view through November 30, 2012.
Yau writes: "At a point when everybody was squeezing space out of paintings, Thiebaud was putting it back in, while establishing a tension between surface and depth. The reason is that Thiebaud wants the viewer to be aware of his or her own body, and he recognizes that this is something that Pollock lost when he made his groundbreaking paintings. For all their materiality, Pollock’s allover paintings make it difficult for the viewer to orient his or her body to the painting — they take the ground we are standing on away. I suspect this is one reason why Thiebaud has never gained the favor of MoMA. He challenges their narrative, which claims this was the goal of painting."
Larry Groff posts a video of Wayne Thiebaud discussing his work and the work of Morandi.
In addition to revealing the direct influence of a Morandi painting on an early painting of sandwiches, Thiebaud discusses a variety of topics including caricature: "If you take something like caricature for instance, which is very much a central aspect of all painting, then caricature represents a way in which, probably, stylistic variants can be determined. If you use caricature in terms of someone like Bonnard - or Morandi - they're caricaturizing their forms, and that makes them unique, gives them a new identity."
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.