Valerie Jaudon, Circa, 2012 (courtesy of the artist & Von Lintel Gallery, New York)
Pepe Karmel argues that we are now in the midst of a golden age of abstraction and suggests that linear analysis is no longer an effective method of evaluating abstract art. Instead, Karmel suggests the adoption of a super-set of "thematic" categories: "Three respond to nature: cosmologies, landscapes, and anatomies. And three respond to culture: fabrics, architecture, and signs. These categories are not mutually exclusive."
Karmel concludes: "Ultimately, the evolution of abstract art—like the evolution of modern art more broadly—has been a series of responses to the experience of life in the 20th and 21st centuries."
Perl writes: "As [curator Leah] Dickerman tells the story, abstract art is a prescription rather than a permission. This is a terrible mistake. She is fascinated by work by Mondrian and Malevich, where at least for a time it seems that abstraction is a way of limiting and thereby intensifying the possibilities of painting. She banishes from the exhibition Paul Klee and Joan Miró, two seminal figures whose profoundly abstract visions did not exclude 'recognizable subject matter.' What Dickerman cannot admit is that abstraction in fact released painters to approach experience in an extraordinarily wide variety of ways."
He continues: "I am left thinking about how often the will to abstraction returns us to representation of one kind or another. I am left thinking that a broader definition of abstraction—a definition that fully embraced the achievements of Miró and Klee and the later work of Kandinsky (which with its symbolic forms may strike Dickerman as insufficiently abstract)—would make it easier to see the art of the twentieth century as a whole. And I am left thinking that a more honest and inclusive view of early modernism would render irrelevant all the talk of postmodernism, because so many of the values we tend to associate with postmodernism—narrative, symbolism, heterogeneity—are in fact aspects of early modernism."
David Sweet looks at the role of detail in abstract painting through the work of Robert Holyhead, Mali Morris, and Juan Usle.
Sweet writes that unlike these painters "there are plenty of current practitioners whose work, which is abstract by default, contains lots of superimposed, busy, ornamental passages, but who treat detail casually, as though it is a relatively trivial matter. In an era of high definition, however, the resolution which detail brings, whether handled intelligently or not, appears to be an increasingly important, even essential part of a contemporary pictorial strategy."
A blog post asserting a true commonality shared by the artists included in Inventing Abstraction: 1910 - 1925 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, on view through April 15, 2013.
The show's "biggest achievement is that it brings together the main narratives of early twentieth-century Modernism while also casting light onto lesser known artists and works. By doing so the show emphasizes the creation of art works as a result of intersecting ideas, inventions, practices and individual biographies. These artists worked to understand what possibilities abstraction in art could open. Abstraction was neither a goal nor a uniform phenomenon... Inventing Abstraction is not about arriving at a final state or drawing a conclusion. Abstraction was never meant to be finished or concluded. Abstraction (hopefully) resonates with a part of us that welcomes all suspension of ideologies and beliefs. Abstraction is a long-term project, acutely relevant and still nourishing today’s paintings - no matter if they are made of air or soil."
Coining the term "anti-immediate," Mario Naves' latest post finds the internal logic and "elusive sense of, not so much time away, as time passing" in the work of Helen Miranda Wilson to be a meaningful antidote to search engine driven culture. Wilson's work is on view in the exhibition 70 Years of Abstract Painting - Excerpts at Jason McCoy Gallery through May 20, 2011.
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.