Who knew painting (and art writing) still had the power to evoke such outrage? Some artists and writers, unhappy with the provisional and casualist approach that I’ve been observing for the past few years, have been wondering why this type of work has gotten so much ink and pixels. Abstract Critical, a UK publication that has complained endlessly about this direction, both in long form and on Twitter, published an essay by Alan Pocaro arguing that Raphael Rubinstein and I are to blame for inventing the whole damn thing. Franklin Einspruch agrees. Thanks, guys, that’s flattering, but really? Jessica Snow wrote a note after I recently reposted the Christie’s article (The Casualist Tendency) to suggest that I’m flogging a dead horse. Well, the provisional/casualist approach isn’t dead–I see it embedded everywhere–but artists and writers who don’t like it can’t seem to stop despairing. I suggest if they want to change the conversation, they should write about all of the other aesthetic phenomena that they imply are prevalent, claim to prefer, but fail to articulate–that is, what they see going on in artists’ studios and how it reflects contemporary culture.
New narratives on my mind: During my printmaking residency at UConn’s Counterproof Press, I’ve been thinking about the impact indirect printmaking processes have had on contemporary painting. Also, I’m wondering why so many of us favor accidental discovery over intentional brushwork. Look for upcoming posts that take a closer look at painters who embrace a more intentional approach. Is there room for highly controlled color and brushwork in contemporary abstraction or does that simply lead to a more mimetic (or a more decorative) result?
Check out a terrific new painting blog published by Julie Heffernan and Virginia Wagner: Painters on Painting. Each week a different artist will write about a painting that has gotten under his or her skin. “The blog allows us to get a glimpse into the heads of artists who primarily communicate visually. We encourage them to talk shop and rummage around in the hidden drawers that contain the nuts and bolts of art making.” This week Zachary Keeting writes on Cham Hendon.
I’d have to agree:
“[Austin Thomas’s exhibition “Utopic”] embraces an anti-art aesthetic that is so minimal and non-invasive that it makes [Richard] Tuttle�s assemblages of cardboard and wood scraps look positively baroque” —Thomas Micchelli on “Utopic,” Austin Thomas’s solo show at Hansel & Gretel Picture Garden
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