New American Paintings/Blog


One of the best parts of my job is getting to see the careers of artists that we have worked with take off. Artists such as James Siena, Amy Cutler and Matthew Day Jackson were all featured in New American Paintings long before they reached the international spotlight. This month is not only an extraordinary month for the medium of painting at galleries around the country, it is a particularly strong month for New American Paintings’ alumni. No fewer than twenty artists featured in past, or upcoming editions, have their work on view in February. Two of my favorites, Summer Wheat and Benjamin Degen, will be featured in the soon to be released 2012 Northeast Edition (#98).

I want to bring special attention to the work of Sarah McEneaney, who was first featured in the mid-1990s. Based in Philadelphia, Sarah is a profoundly gifted artist, and, in my opinion, simply one of the best painters working today. Her painstakingly crafted egg tempera paintings have always had a startling immediacy. Of the many micro-trends that are noticeable in current painting practice, a certain predilection for “faux-naïve” representation is high among them. Sarah was entrenched in this pictorial language long before it washed over the art world. Unlike many younger artists, her creative direction is not a conceptual gambit; rather, it is born out of an internal necessity. – Steven Zevitas, Editor/Publisher

Summer Wheat | Onlooker, oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches

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Must-See Paintings Shows: December by New American Paintings

In the 300+ gallery exhibitions that we previewed for this post, we discovered a number of New American Paintings’ alumni on view in December. Jim Lutes continues to produce a substantial body of work and, once again, demonstrates why he is one of Chicago’s leading painters. And check out Dolphin Gallery’s group exhibition “Push” which features several NAP artists, including a favorite of ours, Michael Krueger. Other shows that stand out: Fernando Mastrangelo at Charest-Weinberg, Byron Kim and James Cohan Gallery, and Cordy Ryman and Eli Ridgway. Enjoy the list! Please check them out and let us know what you think in the comments section after the jump!

Cordy Ryman | Shadow Boxed, acrylic, enamel and graphite on wood, 38 x 33.5 x 3.5 inches

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Dissecting Environments with Josh Keyes by New American Paintings
November 14, 2011, 8:15 am
Filed under: New York, Portland, Review | Tags: , , , , , ,

I was pleasantly taken aback by Portland-based artist Josh Keyes’ (NAP #49 & #67) vividly photo-realistic renderings of fauna in cleaved terrain in Fragment, his debut solo exhibition at Jonathan LeVine Gallery last winter. In one fell swoop, Keyes juxtaposed Audobon-precise animals interacting with textbook-style bisected and angled landscapes overrun with premonitions of global warming, a mix of heady surrealism and acute future reality. To say I anticipated his return to the gallery, in Migration — which auspiciously coincided with my long weekend back in town — would be a grave understatement. What I discovered in Keyes’ new series of dissected environments was an even greater sense of realism, between the animals themselves and their depictions, plus the underlying warning signs of a planet headed towards environmental uncertainty. Read more from Austin Contributor, Brian Fee, after the jump!

Josh Keyes | Tangled IV, 2011, acrylic on panel, 30″ x 40″, Courtesy of Jonathan LeVine Gallery, New York.

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Materializing Mementos: Kristen Miller at PDX Contemporary by New American Paintings
September 23, 2011, 9:00 am
Filed under: Portland, Review | Tags: , , , , ,

Before experiencing Kristen Miller’s (NAP #67) exhibition Memento at PDX Contemporary in Portland, it is difficult to avoid thinking of Christopher Nolan’s indelible film of the same title. However, where Nolan’s treatise on memory employed tension and dramatic manipulation, Miller’s works small works on paper and textiles rely on delicate constructions, meditative techniques and minimal materials. Rarely straying from a spectrum of white and beige, Miller carefully sews tiny seed beads and paints comparably scaled dots of gouache into delicate, vulnerable forms suspended in space. – Erin Langner, Seattle Contributor

Beginning and Ending 1
, 2011, paper and gouache,16.375″ x 18,” image courtesy of PDX Contemporary. Click Image To View Larger

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Must-See Paintings Show: September by New American Paintings

The art world comes alive again in September, as galleries reopen and collectors return from far flung locations. We reviewed upcoming September exhibitions at more than 400 galleries around the country, and there will be a lot of painting on view.

As is typical, many galleries are bringing out the big guns for the new season – from Agnes Martin at The Pace Gallery in New York to a well structured survey of Bay Area figurative painter, Nathan Oliveira, at John Berggruen Gallery in San Francisco. Among the shows opening by emerging artists, it is hard to ignore the trend towards abstract painting that has swept over the art world.

Kimberly Brooks | Punk History, oil on linen, 40 x 36 inches. Courtesy of Taylor De Cordoba, Los Angeles.

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Mise-en-Scéne at Elizabeth Leach by openstudiospress
July 11, 2011, 12:23 pm
Filed under: Art World, Portland | Tags: ,

John Sansini, Francisco and Louie, oil on canvas, 72″ x 60″, 2008

I’ll admit, with all the hubbub over Portland’s annual Trek In The Park (trust me, it’s huge), I was lured into Elizabeth Leach Gallery by Luke Butler’s stunning little trio of Trek characters (which we spotted earlier this year while shooting video at Art Los Angeles Contemporary), which show Bones, Kirk, and Spock, in that order, frozen in anguish on seas of gray. Butler is attracted to Trek and more specifically, Kirk, calling the Captain “a model of vulnerability,” and of Shatner, the man, “His vulnerabilities are on the surface for all to see.” What’s great, too, is that Butler’s fallen heroes – though Trek they be – aren’t silly, and they don’t aspire to kitsch – they’re too well-painted, and too inspiring of pathos. Butler’s most well-known works are the Star Trek pieces, but his work at large too deals with masculinity and vulnerability. (Google him and check out the nude president collages.)

There are more heroes in the group show: John Sansini’s “Francisco and Louie” is a love letter to big, bold painting – the oil is rich and swirly and begs to be touched. According to the gallery, Sonsini hires day-laborers who are typically tapped for manual labor, mainly building projects or landscaping, and pays them hourly to model. The subjects, with their Thomas Hart Benton hands and head-on gaze, rule the room.

More after the jump!  Kelli Rule, Portland contributor

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Pacific Coast Competition Deadline: June 30 by openstudiospress

Robert Minervini, L. A. (sell me something else) | Acrylic on canvas, 50 x 68 inches. Featured in edition #91 of New American Paintings.

Just more than two weeks are left for artists to apply to our annual Pacific Coast competition, one of our most anticipated and highly sought-after books of the year. Jurying the submissions this year is none other than Anne Ellegood, Senior Curator at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. We’re thrilled to have Anne as our Pacific Coast juror for the 2011 competition, and we’re excited to see the work from each of the artists who apply.

The Pacific Coast competition is open to artists living in AK, CA, HI, OR, and WA, and the deadline to apply is Thursday June 30, which is just around the corner, so get cracking.

Artists can now apply online! Simply visit our competition page and follow the instructions. It’s easier than ever to apply. But do it by June 30!

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