November 17, 2016

Chuck Close on the value of experiencing another person's art

excerpt from The New York Times Magazine article written by Wil S. Hylton

Chuck Close self portrait
Chuck Close, Big Self-Portrait, 1967–1968
acrylic on gessoed canvas
107.5 x 83.5 inches
"It seems to me now, with greater reflection, that the value of experiencing another person’s art is not merely the work itself, but the opportunity it presents to connect with the interior impulse of another. The arts occupy a vanishing space in modern life: They offer one of the last lingering places to seek out empathy for its own sake, and to the extent that an artist’s work is frustrating or difficult or awful, you could say this allows greater opportunity to try to meet it. I am not saying there is no room for discriminating taste and judgment, just that there is also, I think, this other portal through which to experience creative work and to access a different kind of beauty, which might be called communion."


November 16, 2016

Artist of the week: Susan Rothenberg

My first artist crush, Susan Rothenberg

Ah the simple pleasures of painting. All those gorgeous painterly brushstrokes! You feel and see her every movement on these canvases. When you stand in front of a Susan Rothenberg painting you become a witness to her very personal viewpoint, making it an experience rather than just a painting. She sets a stage for you to feel you are a participant in.

Thomas Micchelli
Rothenberg begins with negation, cleaving away all that’s inessential, then reaches forward and backward in time, gathering whatever she needs, probing inward toward formalism and outward toward experience, one hand in the clay and the other in the air.
In a career that spans over 40 years, expectedly there are some paintings I am much more in love with than others so here I present some of my absolute favorites...

Susan Rothenberg Dogs killing rabbit
Dogs Killing Rabbit, 1991-92, oil on canvas, 87 x 141 inches

"A lot of my work is about melodrama. I wait for Bruce to fall off a horse and then I go, 'Oh, okay, the horse’s legs were there, the fence post was there, his hat flew off there...'"

- Susan Rothenberg

Susan Rothenberg Accident #2
Accident #2, 1993-94, oil on canvas, 66 x 125 inches
Susan Rothenberg Calling the dogs
Calling the dogs, 1993-94, oil on canvas, 69 x 65 inches

Susan Rothenberg With martini
With Martini, 2002, oil on canvas, 76 x 87 inches

Susan Rothenberg Blue Flip
Blue Flip, 1989-90, oil on canvas, 55 x 46 inches

Susan Rothenberg White deer
White Deer, 1999-2001, oil on canvas, 91 1/2 x 112 inches

Susan Rothenberg Blue u-turn
Blue U-Turn, 1989, oil on canvas






Susan Rothenberg Galisteo creek
Galisteo Creek, 1992, oil on canvas, 112 x 148 inches

Susan Rothenberg Falling
Falling, 2001, oil on canvas, 84 x 72 inches


Susan Rothenberg Four color horse
Four Color Horse, 1976, acrylic and flashe on canvas, 67 x 112 inches

Susan Rothenberg 4 Kinds
4 Kinds, 1991, oil on canvas, 52 x 88 inches

Susan Rothenberg Dog and snake
Dog and Snake, 2004-05, oil on canvas, 49 3/4 x 36 1/2 inches
Susan Rothenberg Untitled (geese)
Untitled (Geese), 1999, Etching, aquatint, and sugar-lift aquatint on chine collé, 13 11/16 x 20 1/2 inches
Susan Rothenberg the corner
The Corner, 2008, oil on canvas, 71 x 57 inches
Susan Rothenberg Crying
Crying, 2003, 5 color lithograph/screenprint, 34 x 35 inches

Steak and Wine, 2000, oil on canvas, 81 x 91 inches



Susan Rothenberg painting
[I've searched all morning for the title of this painting. If anyone knows the image details please let me know]





Susan Rothenberg Hawk
Hawk, 1993-94, oil on canvas, 37 5/8 x 63 5/8 inches

Susan Rothenberg
Susan Rothenberg in her studio


Further looking and reading:
Sperone Westwater Gallery
art21
BLOUINARTINFO
MutualArt







Current Exhibition at Sperone Westwater Gallery
4 November – 20 December 2016
Susan Rothenberg




November 9, 2016

Artists are needed in times like these

I'm not quite sure how to go about my day today, November 9th, 2016.
I thought perhaps I'd just sit here for hours liking and sharing all my friend's posts on Facebook in some sort of post traumatic solidarity. Maybe go do some meditating, or an extra early happy hour at some point... I am just about the most apolitical person I know and even I cried when I saw the words 45th president of the United States. It's hard to go make art when so much is going on in the world. And then I read this post by Matthew Weinstein and I thought, Yes, that's beautiful. So rather than just share it with my Facebook friends I thought I'd share it here as well.
Artists get back to work. We are needed in times like these. Think of the artists who, in grotesque times, turned revulsion into imagery and gesture, and through acts of passionate creativity gave panicked and grieving people an iconographical mirror. And when this time is past, and it will pass, people will look back at it partially through our images. Our gallows humor, beauty lust, anger, sarcasm, hysteria and rigor can make of this time something more than one of isolation and sadness.
The act of retrenchment into one's work is an insistence that the culture of creativity, liberality and love is not vanquished. Making art is an act of love. Love for one's self, love for a world that one wants to insert one's work into, and love for a world that seems to be always just out of our grasp; that we keep grasping for, because that's what artists do.
And like all love, the love of an artist for the world, which most of the time has no need of us, can become an immense rage; one fueled by betrayal and disappointment. But within art, rage can be transformed into a benevolent model of fury; an insistence that people who devote their lives to love and creativity are fucking planted in the earth, that inventing one's reality is not an escape but a stance. We don't have to like each other's work, but we need to respect each other for making work. And we need to hang with each other.
Let's make our best work, see each other's shows, and argue with each other about things so obscure that to the rest of the world we seem like cats lunging at shadows on the wall. There is nobility in caring about things; believing in things, and insisting that the world needs obscurity as much as it needs clarity.
A work of art can be a point in a triangulation between it and two people. This is valuable.
Art can be a model of keeping love alive when love seems dead.
Let's get through this day. Let's be with each other. Let's make our best work.


November 2, 2016

Another Artist Dilemma

P A T I E N C E

I just watched a video of Eddie Martinez claiming to be one of the most impatient people in the world. Maybe that's one of the reasons I like his paintings so much!

I'm an oil painter who does not have the patience (or the time) literally, to sit and wait for the paint to dry!

P A T I E N C E . . .
Not a new concept, definitely a virtue, and for me a never-ending challenge inside the art studio and out.

Maria Popova's recent musings on the seven greatest things she's learned as the creator of brain pickings include:
#7. “Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time.” 
... As I’ve reflected elsewhere, the flower doesn’t go from bud to blossom in one spritely burst and yet, as a culture, we’re disinterested in the tedium of the blossoming. But that’s where all the real magic unfolds in the making of one’s character and destiny.
Although she was referring more to success in life, I'm talking about patience in the studio. My work may be process oriented, aka 'the tedium of the blossoming', but that doesn't make me any more patient. Lately I've been forcing myself to think about it more and more. 

For the most part I'm a fast painter and I like to work on human sized canvases like four to five feet. Since I've been working on a much smaller scale lately, this patience thing has become a lot more relevant. Painting small is really tough for me. Those canvases fill up fast! There's a moment when you're painting, you get a feeling that if you don't walk away from it right that second you'll destroy it and never be able to get it back. 

Samantha Palmeri art
one of four smaller paintings still very much in progress
I've never had much success working on one single piece until I drop. I've always worked on several things at once and this is exactly why. I have to remind myself, this will not be resolved in 4 hours, or 8, or 12, just let it do its thing!

In the mean time I have a real need to keep going, be busy, keep moving, so... on to the next canvas, and the next, and back around again. 


Needless to say, I have a lot of paintings piled up. What I'm suddenly realizing, though, is this pressing need to slow it all down. I need to be more consistent, more cognizant of what's working and where it's all going. It's like when you (well I don't know if they even give typing tests anymore) take a typing test for a job and you can type a thousand words a minute but half of them are spelled wrong. It's time to slow down and get it right.


Patience would mean slowing down a lot, and being perfectly happy with that. Patience would mean standing still long enough to let the moment have its moment. That seems useful... and good. Some moments need more time. How long does this one need?

Some paintings need more time, and that's what I'm trying to appreciate. In the meanwhile I'll just keep tacking those new canvases to the wall... 
 t a c k 
t a c k 
t a c k



Here's an interesting article for further reading: Patience and Painting


October 26, 2016

Ida Applebroog: Artist of the Week


Ida Applebroog artistMarginalia (Crawling Man), 1996, oil on canvas, 32 x 72 inches

Ida Applebroog: One of my favorite artists from what seems like a lifetime ago, when I was all about psychological performative painting. A fascinating artist who got a later start in the artworld, but has managed to successfully sustain it even up until now at age 86, Ida Applebroog is a huge inspiration. This was one of the most difficult artists of the week to post because she has so much work, I couldn't decide which were my favorites!


Ida Applebroog artist
  Modern Olympia (after Manet), 1997-2001, Oil on gampi on canvas, 4 panels, 73 x 148 inches

Ida Applebroog artist   Marginalia (goggles/black face), 1996, Oil on canvas, diptych: 16 x 14 inches and 14 x 18 inches


Ida Applebroog artist

         Marginalia (hand on forehead/squatting), 1996, oil on canvas, each 16 x 16 inches


Ida Applebroog artist

I'm rubber, you're glue, 1993, oil on canvas, 99 x 65 inches

Ida Applebroog artist
Winnie's Pooh, 1993, oil on canvas, 86 x 84 inches


Ida Applebroog artist
K-Mart village I, 1989, oil on canvas, 5 panels, 48 x 32 inches


Ida Applebroog artist
         Emetic Fields, 1989, oil on canvas, 108 x 202 inches


Ida Applebroog artist
Sure I'm sure, 1979, ink and rhoplex on vellum, six panels, 12 x 9 ½ inches each


Ida Applebroog artist
Sure I'm sure and the following two images are part of the provocative series of 10 offset books published and distributed by Applebroog from 1977-1981. She called them "performances" and titled them Dyspepsia Works
"Applebroog produced editions of 400 copies cheaply, and mailed them off to friends or acquaintances, or to artists whose work she admired. Eleanor Antin's postcards, graffiti by Jean-Michel Basquiat or Keith Haring, or Jenny Holzer's sheets of "truisms," pasted on bus stops, alongside notices of yoga lessons, kittens, or second-hand furniture for sale, are other examples of not-for-profit artworks, ingeniously and anonymously distributed, through which, without that having been precisely their intention, the artists all became famous."*
*from Art And Moral Dyspepsia by Arthur C. Danto found in Ida Applebroog: Nothing Personal, Paintings 1987-1997

Ida Applebroog artist

Ida Applebroog artist
  Thank You Very Much, 1982 (detail) ink and rhoplex on vellum, 7 panels, 10 ½ x 9 ½ inches each

Ida Applebroog artist
Tobias, 2005, unique digital photograph with mixed media on gampi paper

Ida Applebroog artist
Good Women (Bettie), digital outtake, 2005
Unique digital photograph with mixed media on gampi paper, 35 x 47 inches

Ida Applebroog artist
Monalisa, 2009, mixed media on canvas, 3 panels, 104 x 77 inches


Here's the article and image that inspired this post. Thanks Hyperallergic!
http://hyperallergic.com/329998/drawing-became-ida-applebroogs-means-communicate-outside-world/
Ida Applebroog artist
Mercy Hospital, 1969/70, drawing on paper


The exhibit Ida Applebroog: Mercy Hospital continues at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) Miami through October 30. Call Her Applebroog, a documentary on the artist by her daughter Beth B, will screen at O Cinema on October 29.



Ida Applebroog, Installation view of Past Events, 1982

Creative Time's Projects at the Chamber, Manhattan 1982, was inspired by the dramatic environment of the Chamber of Commerce’s Great Hall, which is decorated with portraits of the great financiers from American history, all of them white. In Applebroog's installation, the artist made the walls “speak,” telling an unpleasant story of patriarchy. She placed a small bronze sculpture of a woman in the midst of the portraits and inserted a speech bubble into her lips that warned: “Gentlemen, America is in Trouble,” to which the portraits replied: “Isn’t Capitalism Working?” or “It’s a Jewish Plot.” The show proved controversial: it was removed twice in one month and eventually moved to a gallery. The artist’s response: “What did they think a woman was going to do in that space?”


Further looking and reading:
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/19/arts/design/shes-her-own-artist-and-a-daughters-muse.html?_r=0http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/19/arts/design/shes-her-own-artist-and-a-daughters-muse.html?_r=0

http://idaapplebroog.com/

http://bombmagazine.org/article/2235/ida-applebroog








October 17, 2016

Philip Guston, Who The Hell Wants Paint On A Surface?

Philip Guston painting
Philip Guston, Alchemist, 1960, oil on canvas, 61 x 67 inches

Philip Guston in an interview with Joseph Ablow 1966

"For reasons which I did not understand at the time... when I went into nonobjective painting or at least non-figurative painting, I felt I was even then involved with imagery, even though I didn't understand the imagery, but I thought it was imagery.

For some reason that is not quite clear to me yet, and maybe I don't want to be clear about it either, I was forced and pushed into the kind of painting that I did. That is to say that the demand, in the dialogue of myself with this, was that I make some marks.
It speaks to me, I speak to it. We have terrible arguments going all night for weeks and weeks.
"Do I really believe that?" I make a mark, a few strokes, and I argue with myself. Not "Do I like it or not?" but "Is it true or not?" And "Is that what I mean? Is that what I want?"

But there comes a point when something catches on the canvas, something grips on the canvas. I don't know what it is. I mean, when you put paint on a surface, most of the time it looks like paint.
Who the hell wants paint on a surface? 
You take it off, put it on, it goes over here, it moves over a foot. As you go closer, it starts moving in inches not feet, then half-inches. There comes a point, though, when the paint doesn't feel like paint. I don't know why. Some mysterious thing happens. I think you experience this, maybe in parts of canvases or something like that. If you can do it by painting a face or an eye or a nose or an apple, it doesn't matter. What counts is that the paint should really disappear. Otherwise it's craft or something like that."
Philip Guston painting
Philip Guston, Portrait I, 1965, oil on canvas, 68 x 78 inches







September 12, 2016

Music to listen to in the art studio


Yesterday in my studio I meditated to John Coltrane's Interstellar Space... 
for the second time. It was only a few minutes, but wow, what an impact! If you would've told me a year ago that I'd be into this album I'd have thought you were crazy. A year ago I would have definitely run the other way if someone put this on in my studio... but all of a sudden it's working for me. I find myself tangled up in the color and light of the sound, and breathing in all its breaths. Both times I opened my eyes to the brightness of my room knowing exactly what I wanted to do with the painting on the wall.

I don't usually meditate before I start painting, and I don't usually listen to jazz, let alone free jazz, while I'm working, but I'm glad for whatever gave me the impulse.

About the album, Robert Christgau wrote in his column for The Village Voice that he was amazed by the duets, which "sound like an annoyance until you concentrate on them, at which point the interactions take on pace and shape, with metaphorical overtones that have little to do with the musical ideas being explored."

I couldn't have said it better myself! Here, take a listen:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=le4iF-ZAJ3g&list=PLd56fNeWVkFn6OqF_4JR86Gz5Db9MYpmP


Music has that magic ability to set a mood and tone for the day, bringing up memory and emotion, good or bad.
You can wallow and get lost in it, or it can drown everything out. Usually I spend half my day in silence and half of it with music on. There are periods when I listen to the same thing almost every day. Years ago I did a whole series of paintings to Peter Gabriel's Us. Then there are periods when I'm not satisfied with anything I hear. I've tried podcasts and local radio stations, old CD's, new CD's.

Because I'm aware of how much I'm influenced by it, lately I've been trying to be much more conscious of the music I listen to.
Last month out of frustration I spent several days in complete silence. I ended up listening to Pink Floyd's Clouds for an entire week after that. Bitches Brew by Miles Davis is another current favorite.

When it comes down to it there is certain criteria that needs to be met. If the music I'm hearing can jolt me emotionally in one direction or other without overwhelming me, I'm in. If it echoes the same mood as the painting I'm working on, that's good too. But it can't impede on the work. If I'm paying more attention to the lyrics of the song than the colors on my canvas, that's no good. There needs to be enough space in the music that I can subconsciously float myself into. Philip Glass is really good at that. If a whole album flies by and I realize I didn't hear any of it because I was lost in my work, that's perfection!

I just realized that everyone on this list is male, so here, to balance that out, depending on the mood: Concrete Blonde, Ani DiFranco, Nina Simone, Fiona Apple, Patti Smith, Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Blondie, Yeah Yeah Yeah's, Zap Mama, Martha Wainwright... okay well, that more than balances it out!

Happy listening.






July 21, 2016

Where's your studio?

So here's another question for you artists:
Which do you prefer, studio space outside your home or inside your home?? 
For two years I've been telling the world how madly in love with my studio space I am and now I'm trying to rationalize the possibility of not being able to afford it anymore.
I told myself when I got it that I'd never have a studio in my house again.
There's something about physically going to work that is so appealing. Paying for a separate space forces me to work harder and take it all more seriously. I don't think about the computer or the dirty dishes or what we're eating for dinner. I barely even look at my phone.
Having a professional space makes me feel more like, um, a professional. 
But it also has a lot to do with having something all to myself which is really important too. The problem is if I can't afford it then that something for myself turns into something else entirely.
How selfish do we artists get to be? 
Especially when there's no money coming in from the work, only going out.....

Samantha Palmeri painting
unfinished painting, oil on canvas

I'm an artist who has tinkered away in the studio mostly unnoticed for years, and I suspect that will be the case for more years to come. Not that I'm complaining about it, well, I don't mean to anyway. I know I sound like I complain about a lot of things! About rejection notices and staying motivated and burning bridges, about solitude, both the desire for it and the lack thereof. I've complained about wanting a muse after losing one I thought I had, and also about not really needing a muse to begin with, etc. etc. I'd like to think they're not really complaints so much as comments on the topic.
I think spending a lifetime making art can sometimes be confusing like this, and at certain times it does feel a little like a useless endeavor. Nobody really needs it, do they?

I used to have a slogan, pinned up in the storefront window of my first art gallery with white twinkly lights around it, that said Art Is A Necessity. One day a known local artist asked me with a quizzical smirk on his face if I actually believed that. It never occurred to me not to believe it. I think about that all the time. I don't know why, because I don't really know how it affects me one way or the other except that I've always made art because it was a necessity for me. I don't know about anyone else but I need it.

Anyway, my hesitation, anticipation and anxiousness about getting back to work in the studio tends to do this. This wallowing in existential revery sort of thing. I've been reading Philip Guston books lately like I'm studying for the next quiz. Philip I'm ready whenever you wanna lay it on me! Except reading about it and doing it are very very different. I don't want to be him anyway. I'd like to be myself if I can figure out what in the world that looks like, and where to do it.............................