March 22, 2017, 9:39am
Arthur Peña: We first met in 2011 while I was at RISD and what stuck with me from that meeting was a story of how your father wasn’t allowed in museums because they were still segregated. How I remember the rest of the story is you saying that when you did have your first museum show you wanted to make paintings big enough that they wouldn’t fit through the door and the museum would have to work to get them in. Did I remember that right?
Stanley Whitney: Well it’s true that my father couldn’t go in to the Philadelphia Museum. Jack Whitten calls those years the “American Apartheid.” I have lots of stories of paintings not fitting through doors but I don’t think it’s exactly those circumstances. Although, I might have mentioned something like that. It could have been related to a story from around 2006 when my dealer José Freire came to me and asked me to make the biggest work I could make to take to Basel to try and make things happen because he kept putting me in shows and no one was paying me any mind. So I made the biggest painting I could make in my studio, 96 x 96 in., and to get it out we had to cut it in half to get it through the door. We showed it on a big expensive wall and it didn’t sell.
March 14, 2017, 8:20am
This interview took place on the occasion of Bleckner’s solo show, “Find a peaceful place where you can make plans for the future” at the Dallas Contemporary.
April 19, 2016, 8:26am
The 8th Dallas Art Fair wrapped up over the weekend and with it came an exceptional gathering of international galleries and artists. I’m not so interested in picking top booths, name dropping who was in town for the parties or lingering on the Dallas Art Fair Foundation Acquisition Program, which provides the Dallas Museum of Art with $50,000 to acquire work by artists exhibited at the fair. Rather I wanted to give some quick thoughts on a group of selected paintings that stood out from the crowd. Some selections are consistent with what is being seen on the coasts and beyond but there were surprises and discoveries to be had. – Arthur Peña, Dallas Contributor
December 10, 2015, 12:31pm
It seems Joyce Pensato needs no introduction. Her legendary personality and energetic paintings speak for themselves. In fact they scream for themselves. Much has been said in terms of what her absorption of popular culture may reflect. Updated Abstract Expressionism mutated by Warhol and technology? An aggressive reconciliation of our visually saturated world? Ominous portraits signifying a collapsing sense of the role of the image? Sure, but Pensato is quick to sidestep any prolonged reading of the work and simply acknowledge her love for all things Pop. In Pensato there is a sincere engagement with the characters and people that create our unified lexicon of references. This raw sincerity begs us to never turn away from her work as she transforms photographs and cartoon characters into forceful action. Pensato has also been known to show remnants of her studio within exhibitions. This residue which Pensato generously shares can be read as feverish and obsessive while strangely twisting her overwhelming energy into visually formidable objects. Mania made tangible. Pensato is chasing her mind through painting, the medium itself acting as the catalyst and gateway to bring all things into her loving gaze so she can squeeze tight, tighter, tighter until all is consumed by her unrelenting embrace. On the occasion of her current exhibition at the Fort Worth Modern, which presents a body of new photographs and large scale piece, we sat surrounded by Philip Guston paintings and had a conversation. - Arthur Peña, Dallas Contributor
July 16, 2015, 9:01am
In David Salle’s solo museum show at the Dallas Contemporary, Salle owns his art world persona. His works playfully lure in the viewer only to smoothly transition into a seriousness that could only come from years of knowing the ropes (quite literally, in two paintings he has attached a velvet rope). The paintings are easy to enjoy and showcase Salle’s ability to carve out figures with subtle washes and delicate line while excavating Painting’s history. The images in the work are perfectly timed and slyly hilarious. – Arthur Peña, Dallas Contributor
May 07, 2015, 8:47am
Michaël Borremans US premiere of his survey show As sweet as it gets brings together 50 paintings, 40 drawings and 5 films from the last fifteen years. The show opened at the Dallas Museum of Art and was organized by Jeffrey Grove, the Museum’s Senior Curator of Special Projects & Research, who worked closely with Borremans to showcase this impressive body of work. The films in the show function to establish their importance to Borremans process of culling frames from moving images but the films also maintain an independence all of their own. The most effective film piece, The German, showcases an enclosed diorama which houses miniature figures standing in front of a stories tall (in terms of scale to the miniatures) screen that features a man’s face speaking.
The work expertly showcases Borremans imagination and most importantly his acute sense of scale that is also present in his drawings which exploit scale to depict grandiose ideas and scenes in a restrictive size.
Michaël Borremans | A Mae West Experience, 2002, Pencil, watercolor on paper, 6 13/32 x 8 in. (16.3 x 20.3 cm), Private Collection, Belgium, Courtesy Zeno X Gallery Antwerp © Photographer Felix Tirry ©Michaël Borremans
March 21, 2014, 9:17am
Painting can be held as the grand reconciliation of time and history that it is built to be. Dennis Congdon takes this approach as a highly held belief, an admiration of sorts for what image, color and surface can offer; a meandering pile of faded thoughts and sun bleached inspiration. Congdon’s work strikes me as coming from a place that only hind sight can provide. A certain, “Hey, pal, I haven’t seen it all but I’ve seen enough to know that there’s gotta be more to all of this.” A long vision is at play here. Yes, things fall apart but only after they had come together. Congdon’s paintings border this celebration, dancing around fluorescent flames, caressing not what was lost but left behind. His work presents us with a place that we may not know but will eventually have to welcome. Like it or not. – Arthur Peña, Dallas Contributor
March 13, 2014, 7:09pm
Something to consider: How does Painting handle love? Or better yet, can a painting be infused with love? Raychael Stine (NAP #78) believes that a painting that comes from a place of love can serve a greater function beyond an innocuous object. Painting can be used to cope and sometimes that coping deals with issues that pertain to love. I don’t remember the last time someone used the “L” word when speaking about their practice as it may come off as trite. But at the same time are we so cynical not to believe that painting and love do not go hand in hand? Stine pushes beyond these initial queries to a place where life, and love, is reaffirmed through the act of painting. - Arthur Peña, Dallas Contributor
October 15, 2013, 8:00am
It was hard looking at Stuckey’s paintings in his Highland Park studio and come to terms with the visual noise and muzzled whispers in the work. The paintings are horrible in their rampant tramping of imagery and id, intriguing for the same reasons; washed out and fuzzy details similar to staring at static snow on a television. Word association gets me to the vinyl copy of Television’s album Marquee Moon that hadn’t left the record player since I arrived at Stuckey’s LA apartment. Lyrics come to mind:
I spoke to a man down at the tracks
And I asked him how he don't go mad
He said "Look here junior, don't you be so happy
And for Heaven's sake, don't you be so sad"
Stuckey is the man down at the tracks and it is you/me who is asked to balance ourselves otherwise we will not make it through the abrupt narratives in front of us. The newest works offer a visual reference for the clouded mind. “Clouded” also points to Stuckey’s use of white, used not to obfuscate but rather to steady us the way ones foot must hover over the brakes while driving through dense fog, attention heightened. In preparation for his solo show PRIMA MATERIA at Anat Ebgi in Culver City, Stuckey and I had a conversation. - Arthur Peña, Dallas Contributor
September 16, 2013, 8:30am
Volume III: JOSH REAMES BRINGS TRIPPER TO CIRCUIT 12
Located in the Dallas Design District, Circuit 12 is run by husband and wife team Dustin & Gina Orlando. The Orlando’s sharp and ever searching eye brings a national and international freshness to a sweltering arts community that’s thirsty for a new flavor. What sets Circuit 12 apart is what could be thought of as the “cult of color” that the gallery presents. The space offers a crisp, brash and theatrical flair to a community that, at times, treads lightly. The gallery extends invitations to curators for their Regional Quarterly series that opens the space to experimental exercises from Texas based artists, exposing work that might not otherwise make it to Dallas. For their current show, Circuit 12 mounted Tripper, a solo show from Chicago based artist Josh Reames. The paintings in Tripper flicker light and are full of an absent neon glow that references your local corner stores cheap beer signage. Unlike the trap of a promised R&R scenario that those signs offer, Reames’ work never takes a break. It’s in constant motion and only interrupted by abrupt, painfully ordinary images. In their blatant dumbness the works beg to be dismissed as trite, formulaic approaches to painting. But Reames’ masterful sense of space and line pull these out of the naïve conversation. After recognizing their formal power, the paintings reminded me how Sean Penn’s understanding of his craft allowed for Spicoli to exist. Reames, like Spicoli challenging the oncoming wave, surfs abstraction; “Surfing's not a sport, it's a way of life, it's no hobby. It's a way of looking at that wave and saying, ‘Hey bud, let's party!’" Indeed. - Arthur Peña, Dallas Contributor