Frank Bowling, Upright, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 74 x 53 inches (courtesy of Spanierman Modern)
Courtney J. Martin writes about the paintings of Frank Bowling on the occasion of the exhibition Frank Bowling: Paintings 1967 – 2012 at Spanierman Modern, New York, through April 20, 2013.
Martin writes that Bowling's "poured paintings were often a combination of action painting and compositional devices, like vertical lines, that were used by the group of abstract painters that Clement Greenberg supported. A work like Leanora’s Seas (1976) – with its ambiguous reference to a close friend, and the painting’s marine green – were part of the body of Bowling’s art that Greenberg encouraged. Here the poured section of the paint is confined to the center of the canvas, implying a rigidity within the otherwise uncontrolled action of pouring paint. On either side of the poured paint, two background colors form a solid, tonal band. They are tight, linear rectangles in the otherwise fluid-looking surface. After a break of several years, Bowling returned to pouring paint in 2012, creating a new body of poured paintings that includes, Upright (2012)."
Bowling remarks: "What we inherited from the first generation [of abstract expressionists] was the freedom to apply the paint in any which way you want, pouring it, spilling it, dripping it … It was a kind of exhilarating thing to feel, that you can make a work, and make a work that's really rich, and right on the way… to the best that's ever been done with paint by spilling and dripping, pouring… the whole thing was so open…"
Bowling recalls "I was engaged with all those people, especially Newman. He turned the Mark Rothko shape on its side. You had to have permission to get past Newman. It was like a wall, so I thought you should open it up, open up the surface. My poured surfaces didn’t billow like Rothko's. Mine billowed like the kind of heat haze that you get in Guyana in the middle of the day. The sun is so hot that the water evaporates, rises and stays still: it is just there. You get a kind of heat haze that is almost impenetrable. If you go outside, you have to go out into the water. I felt those things about these pictures. I had to open it up. I thought that I could challenge geometric abstraction within the rectangle."
Jason Andrew blogs about the exhibition Larry Poons: New Paintings at Loretta Howard Gallery, New York, on view through March 2, 2013.
Andrew writes: "I take a step back from the frame and then focus on the surface. Each painting, every one, radiates a Dionysian surge of color against color, paint against paint. If my observations seem general it’s because Poons wants us to see rather than contextualize. He wants us to feel rather than interpret. In pure painting terms, it’s the essence of these paintings that comes out and bowls you over. They originate from chromatic worlds of music and color, creating along the way a visual and emotional sensation ripe with gesture, raw energy, and improvisation."
Plack writes: "Painting was a spiritual experience for Olitski. He describes, 'I’ve come to believe that this power I can surrender to in my studio is indeed a higher power.' Beyond the playful colors and pleasing compositions, the artist reveals a serious and emotional side through his works. Through the exhibition, it becomes clear how the word ‘revelation’ is tied to Olitski. It may refer to the revelation that Olitski had each time he sat in his in studio and was struck with an idea, or the revelation of each new stylistic chapter of painting, or the revelation of a new means of applying paint whether it be via spray gun, roller, leaf blower or using his own hands. Through experimentation in paint, Olitski continued to challenge his own aesthetic and push the limits of abstraction."
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.