July 30, 2014, 8:30am
“You have to touch the paintings,” Robert Yoder, owner of Seattle’s SEASON gallery suddenly insisted, as he, artist Philip Miner and I stood beside a set of five canvases included in Miner’s new show, Dark All Over Europe; the artist stopped his train of thought to emphatically agree. Titled One by Four & Four Minus One or Two, Maybe More, the acrylic and flashe paintings in question stood side by side, in a tight row, coated with a texture that looked like a literal manifestation of blood and sand—speckled, saturated, and sticky. The surface that met my fingers, however, was the precise opposite. These paintings were so uniformly slick it was hard to believe they were made by a human hand. While One by Four & Four Minus One or Two was unique in its need to be touched, each work in Dark All Over Europe had a story that started at its surface. — Erin Langner, Seattle contributor
July 29, 2014, 9:22am
Mel Bochner has always been a Conceptual artist. Today his focus is on paintings but his ideas and subject matter remains the same: the use and limits of language. Over the many years of his career Bochner has used language on paper, on the wall, on the floor wherever you could go with a pencil a piece of chalk or a pen. Words for Bochner have the same weight, texture, power as color or form. Actions, feelings and thoughts are transcribed to the viewer in terms of words. - Michael Klein, Contributor
July 29, 2014, 9:07am
Originally published on THE SEEN
Norman Zammitt’s acrylic paintings of gradated color, currently on display at Andrew Rafacz, were produced in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, around the same time that home computers began gaining popularity. The works, much smaller in scale but similar in style to Zammitt’s Mural paintings, are composed of narrow bands of precisely calculated solid color on canvas board mounted to float about an inch away from the wall. A range of palettes, perfectly applied to smooth surfaces – Yellow Violet 43, Red to Green I – often evoke scenes in nature, such as sandstorms and sunrises, and create glowing window-like spaces in the gallery. Existing as objects of obsession, the paintings reveal Zammitt’s desire for transcendence through labor and technical precision, during a period of a monumental technological shift.
July 28, 2014, 11:37am
I stumbled into this beautiful exhibition at Leslie Feely Gallery almost by accident. A mini survey of works by Frank Stella was on view in two elegant rooms. The works were made between 1971 and 1987. Historic yes, distinguished yes and a visual delight to encounter.
To begin we find on entrance wall this Malevich quote: “….only he is alive who rejects his convictions of yesterday.” Later I found the same quote printed in a 1978 Stella catalogue from the Fort Worth Art Museum. This statement is a guide to what Stella has been about since the beginning of his long and extremely productive career. - Michael Klein, Contributor
July 21, 2014, 9:29am
“Central Washington Fire Not Contained,” reads the headline of the Associated Press’s silent footage showing the plumes of gray and black that presided over entire mountains full of charred treetops in Washington State over the last week. Somewhere between the brush fires that maintain a forest’s health and the catastrophic fields of flames that consume the homes and the national parks of the western United States every summer resides the invisible line that separates controlled chaos from the uncontainable. Standing among the natural phenomena dominating the paintings of Introductions at Seattle’s G. Gibson Gallery while the fires burn across other pockets of the state, the related tensions investigated by these artists take on a new level of relevancy. — Erin Langner, Seattle contributor
July 17, 2014, 9:12am
Much of Durango-based artist Chandler Wigton’s (NAP #105) work deals with the subconscious and conscious imagination as a site for exploration. Guided by intuition and a desire to better understand science and appreciate its many mysteries, Wigton draws on a multi-disciplinary approach for inspiration. Many abstract concepts associated with outer space and its creation including the big bang, wormholes, and time are key themes in his work that serve as a backdrop for contextualizing other more internalized subjects such as language, the body and geography to better situate oneself within that larger, contemplative existential setting. At times, his work reveals a tendency to become map-like or diagrammatic, and in that sense, they become tools for better illuminating the objects and phenomenon they represent. I recently had the opportunity to talk with him about his work. – Claude Smith, Albuquerque/Santa Fe Contributor
July 15, 2014, 9:25am
Forrest Bess never made a living as an artist. He spent most of his working life as a bait fisherman off the Texas coast making meager wages and living in ramshackle conditions. Yet he navigated the New York art world with relative ease. He exhibited his work at Betty Parsons Gallery along other artists like Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Barnett Newman. He held a lifelong correspondence with notable art historian and critic Meyer Shapiro. And his work was purchased by distinguished art collectors like John de Menil. All the while Bess felt marginalized, perceiving that the artists of his generation thought of him as nothing more than a hick.
Bess, then, was a man of dualisms, at once a rugged roughneck in the oil fields of Texas and a deep thinker who corresponded with Carl Jung. He was both a supremely accomplished painter and an isolated fisherman who struggled with alcohol and mental illness. Forrest Bess: Seeing Things Invisible, on view at the Berkeley Art Museum through September 14, presents Bess’ paintings alongside an archive of historical material that shed light on the artist’s life. -- Matt Smith Chavez, San Francisco Contributor
July 14, 2014, 9:05am
A tortoise, a gas station, a sleeping dog, a shadowy tree and a juvenile detention facility: these are the subjects of Buddy Bunting’s five new paintings. At first sight, the mystery of their connection hangs in the air with a sense of heavy deliberation; these unlike things are somehow meant to be together, but it is hard to see how. Then, slowly, as you linger inside Seattle’s Prole Drift gallery, that sensation of heavy air becomes more pronounced and persistent across the scenes—the stillness of the dog, the haze surrounding the tree, the immobility of the tortoise. The title that gathers them together—Valley Fever—evokes the slowed pace that feverish heat commands, and this proves to be the best approach to journeying through Bunting’s thick environs. — Erin Langner, Seattle Contributor
July 08, 2014, 9:49am
In Michaels Fried’s review of Michel Seuphor’s now criminally out of print 1963 book Abstract Painting: 50 Years of Accomplishment From Kandinsky to Jackson Pollock, Fried all but dismisses the very need for such a book, saying, "Whatever controversy it may once have provoked, abstraction per se is by now no longer a live issue.” An understandable stance, perhaps in 1963, near the beginning of one of the more recent bona fide canonical shifts in the history of art. Art is not fashion — but there has always been a fashionability to what kind of art is discussed as part of the current dialog. Human beings have always, and will always, seek to arrange, produce, and think with the more formalized 2D visual concepts; the relatively modern format and practice of painting has, for the last hundred years, been one of the primary sites of that inquiry. - Jason Ramos, Los Angeles Contributor
June 30, 2014, 9:18am
The current show at Johansson Projects, Alicia Mccarthy + Jenny Sharaf, is a bit of a study in contrasts. For one, the artists find themselves at different points along their respective career paths. Alicia Mccarthy is a mainstay in the San Francisco Bay Area and part of the so-called Mission School, a group of artists that came to prominence in the city during the early 2000s. Jenny Sharaf is a recent MFA from Mills College in Oakland and a young emerging artist who has exhibited in LA and San Francisco. Their two person show at Johansson Projects seems to point to interesting contrasts in compositional approaches, one that responds to the world outside of the gallery, the other to the thingness of paint. – Matt Smith Chavez, San Francisco Contributor