In separate interviews, Tyler Green talks to painters Shirley Kaneda and Jonathan Lasker about the exhibition Conceptual Abstraction at Hunter College Art Galleries, New York, on view through November 10, 2012. Green begins both very interesting conversations by asking each artist the same question: "Is there a meaninful difference being an abstract painter in 1990 and in being an abstract painter in 2012?"
Kaneda begins her response: "There was a lot of re-defining and re-aligning going on in terms of abstract paintings at the time, and it seemed to be a very optimistic time... There is very little critical dialogue around abstraction today, whereas 20-25 years ago there was a lot of critical dialogue around it."
Lasker responds that he feels there is "a huge difference really. The big thing about painting is that there really haven't been a tremendous number of new issues coming forward in the last 20 years. There's been a lot of dispersion of issues, and a lot of people painting from a lot of different aspects and ideas... The last 20 years has had a lot of interesting artists, a lot of good artists, and some good young painters emerging too, but in the sense of bigger issues and big ideas, there hasn't been that much."
Another entry in the seminal Paints a Picture series: Elaine de Kooning provides a first hand account of Hans Hofmann's process and approach to painting.
In a richly detailed narration, De Kooning records Hofmann's technical studio practice punctuated by his comments on painting: "Hofmann has evolved no rules for the making of a picture. On the contrary, always on guard against intellectualism and virtuosity, he says: 'At the time of making a picture, I want not to know what I’m doing; a picture should be made with feeling, not with knowing. The possibilities of the medium must be sensed. Anything can serve as a medium—kerosene, benzine, turpentine, linseed oil, beeswax…even beer,' he adds jokingly. ...'Painting, to me means forming with color,' Hofmann states. His first stroke of color is very important since it may be visible in the final version of the picture, and so, for Fruit Bowl, No. 1, Hofmann spent considerable time studying the still-life before picking up his brush... 'A work of art is finished from the point of view of the artist,' says Hofmann, 'when feeling and perception have resulted in a spiritual synthesis.' "
Halasz writes: " 'Revelation' is a distinguished show, a fitting tribute to a major master. I had a better time at 'Jules Olitski on an Intimate Scale,' at George Washington University’s Brady Gallery. Not expecting as much, I was surprised and delighted by all these enticing little pictures, dancing up & down along the walls in a masterful installation. The informality of the show was very appealing, particularly after the comparatively stiff and dignified atmosphere of the Katzen Center show. Rightly or wrongly, I felt closer to the artist at the Brady."
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.