New American Paintings/Blog

Abstract Planking: Jason Middlebrook at Lora Reynolds Gallery by New American Paintings
July 22, 2013, 9:00 am
Filed under: Austin, Review | Tags: , ,

Painting on wood panels is old-school, the most popular way of supporting media until canvas took over in the 16th century. Jason Middlebrook isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel by painting directly onto internally cut trunks from the local mill. But in relocating from Williamsburg to Columbia County in upstate New York seven years ago, the artist began infusing his nature-minded oeuvre with the natural landscape. The Line That Divides Us, Middlebrook’s debut solo exhibition at Lora Reynolds Gallery in Austin, is a distillation of his most recent work: subtle compositions on their own sublime hardwood slabs. — Brian Fee, Austin contributor

Jason Middlebrook | Black Betty, 2013, Spray paint on cherry, 105 x 18 x 1 1/4 inches. Courtesy the artist and Lora Reynolds Gallery, Austin.  Continue reading

Self Conscious: Pat Snow & Matthew John Winters at grayDUCK Gallery by New American Paintings
July 16, 2013, 8:30 am
Filed under: Review | Tags: , ,

It seems almost fated that Texas transplants Pat Snow and Matthew John Winters would exhibit together. The mellifluous title to their grayDUCK Gallery duet Wintersnow Snowinters echoes the innate, mantra-like concentration evident in their respective works, combining images and memories to sublime conclusions. — Brian Fee, Austin contributor

Pat Snow | Wake, 2013, Oil on panel, 18” x 24”. Image courtesy grayDUCK Gallery, Austin.

Upon meeting Snow at the three-artist exhibition True Story at grayDUCK last year, I was stone-cold smitten with his graphite portrait Record Shop Girl and the liquidic color bouquets blooming across watercolor Sleeping vs Waking. There was something uncanny about these figures —  Facebook “selfies” of Snow’s friends  — something nostalgic, like girls I’d met in university or at some party in New York. His usage of text (either unsteady print or carefully meandering cursive, culled from snippets of conversation or song lyrics) redoubled this deep familiarity. Like: I know them from somewhere, or, I want to know them. Wintersnow Snowinters signals Snow’s first painting show in some two decades, so several earlier watercolor works (like Sleeping vs Waking) reappear here as fully-formed oil on panel compositions. The 2013 Wake features Snow’s hometown friend Heather (now an Austin-based chef) with clouds of grey across her face, like sleep’s last remnants, instead of the tropical shadows from last year’s watercolor. The same script — “it wasn’t so much the sleeping as much as the waking up” — snakes across her partially concealed arm like a tattoo, but the subdued palette radiates hazy consciousness, flickers of violet in her hair, a single streak of watery red extended beneath her lips.

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Ellsworth Kelly at Matthew Marks Gallery by New American Paintings
July 5, 2013, 8:30 am
Filed under: New York, Review | Tags: , ,

Ellsworth Kelly has recalled of his early development as an artist: “I didn’t want to paint people. I wanted to paint something I had never seen before. I didn’t want to make what I was looking at. I wanted the fragments.” In Ellsworth Kelly at Ninety—a title that refers to the birthday the artist celebrated a few weeks after the show’s opening—fourteen paintings and two sculptures in Kelly’s signature fragmentary style are on view. Impressively, all of the large works were made in the past two years, evidence that the artist’s age has not affected the prolific production of his work. – Nadiah Fellah, NYC Contributor

Ellsworth Kelly at Ninety, Matthew Marks Gallery. Image Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery.

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Ella Hatchet: Alex Chitty and Alice Tippit at Roots & Culture by New American Paintings
July 2, 2013, 8:30 am
Filed under: Review | Tags: , , ,

At once phonetic and ambiguous, the work in Ella Hatchet reflects the title – a collection of paintings, photographs, and sculptures by Alex Chitty and Alice Tippit that strike a mood, rather than a specific target. In fact, the symbol a target would be the antithesis of what this exhibition, currently on view at Roots & Culture, so beautifully achieves. Embracing the poetic potentials of form, color, and organization of everyday objects, Chitty and Tippit stage an anti-devotional relationship to domestic symbols indicative of art historical tropes, as much as midcentury style and design. Where the embellishment of myth intersects with the cool touch of a textbook, both artists take a critical, yet humorous stance on immediately recognizable symbols and modes of making – silhouette portraiture, the reclining nude, and marble sculpture, to name a few. In Ella Hatchet, a Classical approach to achieving the perfect form is met with the contemporary anxiety of purposeful mistranslation. Taking its cue from the pictorial language of painting and sculpture, as well as its signs/signifiers, this exhibition questions the state of an original object when interpreted into a new context – reveling in all the exciting slippages that occur when traditional systems of representation falter. ­– Stephanie Cristello, Chicago Contributor

Work by Alex Chitty and Alice Tippit, from left: “Autonaut,” 2011, “Snap,” 2011, “Slow Death of a Namesake (Unit I),” 2013, and “Lake Aspect,” 2012. Courtesy of the artist and Roots & Culture.

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Overlapping Disjuncture: Christine Frerichs at gallery km by New American Paintings
July 1, 2013, 8:30 am
Filed under: Los Angeles, Review | Tags: , ,

Christine Frerichs’ current solo show “The Conversation” at gallery km is dynamic, new, and not to be missed.

The main gallery space is filled with ten large 44 x 34 paintings that are three-dimensional, visually enticing, and inviting.  At first glance, they do not appear to have a unified theme, as they vary fairly drastically in color and abstract subject. Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor

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Christine Frerichs | The Conversation – installation view. Photo by Lee Thompson, courtesy of gallery km.

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New Work From Kansas City at Carrie Secrist Gallery by New American Paintings

An effort to define “Midwestern Painting” has been a major topic of discussion lately – not a quite debate, but definitely an inquiry.  Carrie Secrist’s recent exhibition New Work from Kansas City, featuring work by Anne Lindberg, Kent Michael Smith, and Paul Anthony Smith, foregrounds an emphasis on site and contemporary practice in the Midwest.  While the press release pushes against a read of “regionalism”, the exhibition suggests otherwise – though perhaps this ever-present theme of region is symptomatic of a larger condition concerning a rise in questioning Midwestern “standards” for a definition toward “painting,” the term.  Strung together by a loose thread of abstraction, the exhibition features the artists’ differences as opposed to their similarities.  Far from being a negative thing, New Work from Kansas City highlights some very prevalent issues in what it means to put together exhibitions with a Midwestern slant today in Chicago. – Stephanie Cristello, Chicago Contributor


parallel 39_al
Anne Lindbergparallel 39, 2013, graphite and colored pencil on cotton mat board, 58 x 51 inches,Courtesy the artist and Carrie Secrist Gallery, Chicago

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David Rathman and the Wild West Reimagined by New American Paintings
June 24, 2013, 8:30 am
Filed under: Los Angeles, Review | Tags: , ,

David Rathman’s recent watercolor exhibit “Hope I’m Never That Wrong Again” at Mark Moore Gallery featured fading sepia-toned watercolor cowboys gallivanting around a fading wild west like ghosts…It was filled with images reminiscent of Lonesome Dove that would have made Larry McMurtry proud.

1. There Never Was Any Good Old Days. 300
David Rathman | There Never Was Any Good Old Days, 2013, Ink and watercolor on paper, 28 x 42 inches. Image courtesy of Mark Moore Gallery.

At times these cowboys appeared to be riding out toward the viewers and at others, they looked to be fading into the background.  Regardless, they welcome us into a turbulent past… Yet Rathman’s combination of monotone colors, delicate washes, and humorous titles suggest a rebirth and reimagining of the violent days of yore, in the form of bittersweet and gritty nostalgia. – Ellen Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor Continue reading

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