New American Paintings/Blog

Libby Black: Nothing Lasts Forever by New American Paintings

I caught up with artist Libby Black (NAP #67 and #85) at Marx & Zavattero gallery in San Francisco, where her show ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ is currently on view (through May 26th). Black has carefully selected and curated the images in the show, mindful of how flower paintings can be associated with ‘Sunday painters.’ To combat this tendency she has injected a layer of darkness and playfulness into the show through unique juxtapositions. For instance, between still-lifes of colorful bouquets is one of a high heel shoe with a penis extending from the toe, a design by Vivienne Westwood. The placement of a woman’s crotch sheathed in nothing more than nude pantyhose next to a painting of a flamingo’s head instantly brings to mind the phallic nature of the bird’s beak. She says, “I really needed these other pieces [in the show] so it wasn’t just about flowers—it’s about life, death, and sex; mundane moments mixed with elevated things that keep you thinking. I like to introduce this other layer within the work, just to take you down a different avenue for a little bit.” – Read the entire interview by Nadiah Fellah, our San Francisco Contributor, after the jump!

Libby Black | Pantyhose, 2011, oil on canvas, 12 x 9 inches
Libby Black | Pink, 2012, oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches

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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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Richard Aldrich at SFMOMA by New American Paintings
January 12, 2012, 8:15 am
Filed under: Review, San Francisco | Tags: , ,

An artist based in Brooklyn, Richard Aldrich’s paintings are products of his eclectic interests and environment. With piece titles that range from being inspired by French philosophy to Kanye West lyrics, his engagement with history and popular culture merge to create a dynamic painting practice. His paintings are often based in abstraction, with hints of figuration. He says of his work, “I don’t really differentiate between what makes a painting abstract or not, because it’s all part of the art…I’m interested in the machinations of contemporary society, or of information in general and how it moves along. With the internet, magazines and catalogues, gossip and all of that, I’m interested in how all this information comes to be known, how it moves around and how that movement affects it.”* – Nadiah Fellah, San Francisco Contributor

New Work: Richard Aldrich
; photo: Ian Reeves, courtesy SFMOMA.

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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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The Art of Occupation by New American Paintings

As the Occupy movement continues to grow, the lines between ‘artist’ and ‘activist’ have become increasingly blurred. Images, text, video and photographs convey the messages and events of the movement on every available surface, website, blog, and twitter feed. In fact, as Martha Schwendener recently noted, Liberty Plaza, or any occupation site for that matter, has “became a kind of art object: a living installation or social sculpture.”  – Nadiah Fellah, SF Contributor

A story-telling booth in Oakland at which participants were invited to share their ‘99% Story’
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Joan Brown at the San Jose Museum of Art by New American Paintings

One of Joan Brown’s first encounters with art was as a Catholic high school student in San Francisco. It mainly consisted of calendar covers in her Christian family living course. She later said of her parochial education: “I [knew] that this was just one tiny bit of what there was, and that I just had to get through this—get old enough is what it was—and get the hell out of there.” After graduating, Joan submitted a few pencil sketches of movie stars to the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute) on a whim, and was admitted in 1955 at the age of seventeen. It was during her initial year at CSFA where she met her first of four husbands, William Brown (whose name she kept), and Elmer Bischoff, an influential teacher that would become a lifelong friend and mentor. – Nadiah Fellah, San Francisco Contributor

Joan Brown | Girls in the Surf with Moon Casting a Shadow, 1962, oil on canvas,72 x 72 inches, Collection of Suzanne Diamond

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Must-See Paintings Shows: November by New American Paintings

We reviewed upcoming November exhibitions at close to 300 commercial galleries from throughout the United States to compile this list. Once again, it is another extraordinarily strong month for the medium of painting. Highlights include the feverishly painted work of Alison Schulnik at Zieher Smith, Nathan Hylden’s complex meditations on the studio at Richard Telles, and Llyn Foulkes idiosyncratic landscapes at Andrea Rosen. – Must-See November painting shows after the jump!

Allison Schulnik | Yogurt Eater, 2011, oil on linen, 84 x 68 inches

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