December 01, 2017, 9:11am
I have said it before, but one of my greatest joys these days is watching the careers of artists featured in New American Paintings explode. Working with curators, we review the work of more than 6000 artists every year and try to identify those who are exceptional. We take this job VERY seriously.
The way the art world is structured these days, there is, perhaps, no bigger stage to present your work than Art Basel Miami. Thousands of art lovers attend each year and just about every major collector and curator from around the world is there. There are at least two-dozen of our alumni on view this year, which is extraordinary. Some of these artists, such as Jordan Casteel and Loie Hollowell, have gained international attention just in the past twelve months. If you receive New American Paintings, as hundreds of collectors and curators do, you would have discovered their work before they entered the gallery system. Join us. – Steven Zevitas, Publisher
February 11, 2016, 8:54am
The needs and priorities of artists are in constant flux. Art historians have attempted to document this flux by identifying a series of seismic shifts in aesthetics and attaching to each its defining characteristics. This practice has provided us with a litany of isms that stretch back centuries. Art history will continue to roll on, but it very well may be that the age of the ism is behind us. That’s not to say that there are not, and will not continue to be, clusters of like-minded artists whose combined efforts can generate an aesthetic critical mass that historians are able to delineate. But with instant global communication, the time in which new ideas are disseminated, assimilated, and ultimately disregarded is so compressed that the enterprise has been, at best, reduced to trend spotting.
The medium of painting, in particular, has always been prone to noticeable trends. For the better part of a decade, the trend of note has been the overwhelming amount of abstraction that has circulated, in particular that of the provisional, or de-skilled ilk. While there are some talented artists working in this vein––Richard Aldrich and Joe Bradley, to name two––much of the stuff is so hopelessly bland and devoid of meaningful content that it has garnered the moniker “zombie formalism.” In the past two years, however, the winds have shifted. Abstraction is out, and the figure is in; flatness is out, as artists begin to embrace a space that lies somewhere between reality and a digital simulacrum of it.
Both of these trends were widely visible in 2015. As I wandered though the various art fairs that make up Miami’s art week in early December I was overwhelmed by the amount of figurative painting on view…much of if it at galleries that have rarely, if ever, exhibited such work. The figure is everywhere, and being addressed with all manner of stylistic intonation. Even more conspicuous was the number of artists who, whatever their subject matter, are conjuring a kind of space that seems teasingly “real,” yet clearly relies on life as experienced through the computer screen more than the living room window. Perhaps this is not a surprise, given that a generation of artists weaned on the Internet is now coming of age.
Before getting in to this year’s list of Artists to Watch, I want to say how pleased I am to see the success of all of the artists featured on last year’s list. Sadie Benning had a knockout show at Susanne Vielmetter in Los Angeles that was critically acclaimed. Katherine Bernhardt took it to the next level with her outing at Venus Over Manhattan. Daniel Heidkamp, who just gets better and better, was heavily in demand. Eddie Martinez, whose current show at Mitchell-Innes & Nash is his best to date, is now firmly on the radar of serious international collectors. Most exciting to me is the attention given to mature painter, Katherine Bradford. Bradford has been making her quirky, extraordinary paintings for years and, finally, the world has caught up. Her work looked completely of-the-moment at NADA Miami, and her subsequent one-woman show at CANADA in New York City was a huge commercial and critical success. – Steven Zevitas, Editor/Publisher
November 17, 2013, 6:23pm
The image of the female nude is arguably the closest thing the subject of painting has to a readymade. The recent exhibition on view in the West Wing at Corbett vs. Dempsey by Jonathan Gardner, Nudes, consists of just three paintings installed in the corner of the main space, otherwise occupied by an exhibition of Konrad Klapheck’s charcoal drawings. The images recall twentieth century favorites – namely Picabia, with hints of Magritte and Balthus, currently featured in a similarly titled exhibition Cats and Girls, on view at the Met. In each of the three images, Gardner sets up simple parameters that allow for an immediate read, but not a simple one. In an off-the-cuff throwback to an antiquated genre, it appears that the approach of artist as stylist, or rather painter as the painter of styles, presents surprisingly interesting challenge for Gardner. Of course the depiction is nothing new – we’ve seen a million of paintings on the subject – but these three hold strong. Undiluted by any satirical content, the paintings are direct, yet comic and complex; for this reason they are different. Walking a fine line between representation of a subject, and representation of a style, the three tableaus are not quite sexualized enough to be perverse, nor awkward enough to be sympathetic. Instead, the nudes represent a removed and distant caricature of painterly female representation of the teens and twenties, in particular – though sans personality, and without any symbolic content; purposefully emptied of any recognizable trait that would tie them to that context. Nude or otherwise, the figures are somehow ontological – in the sense that despite their seemingly forward appearance, they are a material that serves themselves. Just as the physicality of paint serves the formalist, the image of the girl Gardner paints is the subject of that painting. – Stephanie Cristello, Chicago Contributor
Jonathan Gardner | Nude with Lemons, 2013. Oil on linen. 40 x 46 inches. Image courtesy of Corbett vs. Dempsey.