John Yau blogs about the work of Catherine Murphy, on view at Peter Freeman, Inc., New York thorugh April 27, 2013.
Yau writes: “Murphy doesn’t generalize, doesn’t develop shorthand for her subjects, doesn’t use paint in any way that announces painterliness or style. Rather, she does something far more difficult and demanding — she remains devoted to her subject, however plain and ordinary. And if the subject requires that Murphy paint layers of flesh-colored tissue paper or flakes of falling snow seen through a window on a windy night, then she will take up the challenge. Think of all the artists who become content to produce examples of their brand with just the right little twist. There is none of that in this exhibition. Every painting and drawing is distinct, no variations.”
Continue reading Catherine Murphy: Painterly Devotion
Thomas Micchelli blogs about Matisse’s 1948 painting Interior with Egyptian Curtain (Phillips Collection) currently on view in the exhibition Matisse: In Search of True Painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, on view through March 17, 2013.
Micchelli writes: “Matisse has painted not one picture but three abutted together: the window, the curtain and the still life. While each competes for your attention in its own dazzling way — the window in an explosion of short strokes, the curtain with an interlocking pattern of abstracted shapes, and the still life with a simple but blazing interaction of yellow, pink, black and white — to the postmodern eye the combination of components seem to betray a loss of faith in the ability of a single image to express the fullness of an artist’s vision.” Micchelli continues, noting that “the jangling, jazzy profusion of images deny the painting a conventional center of interest. The images, however, do not direct the eye to all four quadrants of the canvas, as Matisse does in his other interiors; instead they compact a heightened level of interest in three discreet sections. To again take the work from a postmodern perspective, Matisse’s “Interior with an Egyptian Curtain” can be viewed as more overt in its deconstruction of pictorial integrity than something like Willem de Kooning’s black-and-white ‘Painting,’ which was done the same year.”
Continue reading The Future of Henri Matisse
Amanda Manitach visits the studio of painter Eric Elliott whose exhibition Pairings is on view at James Harris Gallery, Seattle through February 16, 2013.
Manitach writes that in Elliott’s work paint is “slowly and painstakingly built up in daubs, nearly curls off the canvas like calcified petals, resembling the flora with which he is obsessed. (His botanical illustrations fill notebooks scattered around his studio; dried bouquets languish in vases.) Elliott’s fascination with rendering the representational abstract is consistently apparent in his work: the subject of his paintings is sometimes legible, sometimes it spastically dissolves. Pairings takes this study of abstraction to a dialogic place. As per the title, Pairings displays paintings side-by-side as diptychs and triptychs, situating identical or related subjects next to one another. Yet each is executed with different approaches to material and mark making that evolve as part of the ongoing painting process”
Continue reading Eric Elliott: In Studio
John Yau reviews the exhibition Richard Walker: House Paintings at Alexandre Gallery, New York, on view through January 5, 2013.
Yau writes: “There is something decidedly virtuosic and yet powerfully modest in Walker’s synthesis of control and seeming casualness. He has applied thick dabs, short strokes, thinly painted rectangles, and a tangle of calligraphic lines to the sticky black surface with a light but firm touch. The viewer senses the time constraint, the unseen ticking clock pressuring the artist to make one decision after another. And this stress becomes a metaphor for time’s winged chariot. There is nothing coy or even charming about these paintings of darkened rooms in which bits of light come in through a window or are reflected from a laptop… Walker’s love of paint and painting is evident in these uncompromising works. I say uncompromising because an exhibition of largely black interiors challenges viewers to look slowly and carefully, which is not typical of the art world or even of much painting.”
Continue reading The Dark, Shuttered House of Painting
Hearne Pardee reviews the exhibition Richard Walker: House Paintings at Alexandre Gallery, New York, on view through January 5, 2013.
Pardee writes: “Like painters from Chardin to Braque, Walker incorporates the tools of his trade in his paintings: in Brown Interior, for instance, he depicts a glowing laptop along with the projection it spawns, and the scrims and poles of his projection apparatus, as though to make honest acknowledgement of his process. He thus also acknowledges our complexly mediated relations to the past, to one another, and to ourselves in a world as interpreted by Marshall McLuhan. Walker’s argument for painting’s relevance within this contemporary media environment is convincing on the purely visual level, where his painterly touch grounds his conceptual superstructure in materials. Worked wet into a dark ground, his strokes of light hover on the verge of legibility, with a poignancy that recalls the way good painting has traditionally endowed its subjects with life – a drama repeatedly enacted as his paint lends substance to transparent films of projected photos.”
Continue reading Richard Walker: House Paintings
John Yau reviews the exhibition From Life at Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects, organized with Marshall Price, on view through December 23, 2012. Yau writes that the show presents "11 paintings by artists committed to working from observation. C…
Continue reading From Life
Larry Groff interviews painter Christopher Gallego about his work and process. Gallego remarks: "The game of painting is played on two levels. First there is the artist, making decisions, solving problems, doing the actual work. Then there is …
Continue reading Christopher Gallego: Interview
John Yau writes about the paintings of Mernet Larsen, on view in the tri-partite exhibition Three Chapters at Vogt Gallery, New York. The thrid installment "Narratives" is on view through October 27, 2012. Yau writes: "One thing that…
Continue reading Mernet Larsen: Three Chapters
Valerie Brennan interviews painter Ted Gahl about his work and studio practice. Gahl comments: "I do a lot of drawings on napkins at bars and restaurants, and I keep all of them. My larger works are usually derived from these small drawings, and …
Continue reading Ted Gahl: Interview
On the occasion of the exhibition Édouard Vuillard: A Painter and His Muses, 1890–1940 (at the Jewish Museum through September 23, 2012), Norman L. Kleeblatt writes about Vuillard's substantial influence on contemporary painting. K…
Continue reading Riffing on Vuillard