New American Paintings/Blog


Chromatic Archive: Lisa Ruyter at Connersmith by New American Paintings
October 8, 2012, 8:20 am
Filed under: DC, Review | Tags: , , ,

There’s a seemingly direct line between Lisa Ruyter’s work and pop art. Like pop art, Ruyter’s paintings are guided by photography and mass media, her appropriation strategies a central crux of her compositions. But her artistic concerns are decidedly unwarholian. Rather than revisiting pop art’s critique of commodity culture, Ruyter is more interested in reframing the conceptual meeting point between image and color, obliterating photographic affect and repurposing meaning along the way. Indeed, much of the photographs’ original “truth” is lost when viewed through Ruyter’s decadently neon prism, nearly as abstract as it is figurative. – Matthew Smith, DC Contributor


LISA RUYTER | Arthur Rothstein “Dry and parched earth in the badlands of South Dakota” | 2009, acrylic on canvas, 47 x 59 inches. Image courtesy of Connersmith

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Of This World: Tom Green at Curator’s Office by New American Paintings
April 13, 2012, 8:15 am
Filed under: DC, Review | Tags: , , ,

“Time is of the essence now.” Most of us will never fully grasp the weight of Tom Green’s words when he spoke to the Washington Post last December. He’d been diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) six months earlier and was aware that at some point, possibly soon, he’d lose his ability to paint, robbed of his motor skills by this neurological disease. The news of the  urgent diagnosis, however, although paramount and ultimate, is but a blip in the long trajectory of the artist’s career in Washington, D.C., a career that also included stops at the Whitney Biennial in 1975 and the Guggenheim in 1981. Opening earlier this month, Of This World at Curators Office features Green’s latest works on paper. They’re also his final paintings, restrained and elegant reinterpretations of his longstanding pictorial engagement with semiotics. More after the jump. –Matthew Smith, Washington, D.C. contributor.


Tom Green | Of This World 3, 2011 acrylic on paper 29.75” x 22.25”, courtesy Curator’s Office

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Paper Trail: In the Studio with Steven Riddle by New American Paintings
March 22, 2012, 8:15 am
Filed under: Interview | Tags: , , , , , ,

Steven Riddle’s paper collages are additive. They’re layers and layers of material that slope past their underlying surfaces in gentle relief. They’re also subtractive, just as much the result of recursively eliminating elements. And they’re practically alive. A single composition is often an amalgamation of pieces produced more recently mixed with others from two years prior. They’re like living, breathing documents of the artist’s extended studio history, all of it cumulatively recorded in the bins of scrap paper in his studio — blank paper that’s been air brushed, silkscreened, brushed over with gouache, monotyped , and that’s just for starters. Colorful and seemingly delicate, Riddle’s collages might seem like a reaction to the urban gray and grit of Baltimore, where he lives. Perhaps they’re escapist renditions, or more likely, ornate celebrations of a city’s latent energy.

I recently dropped by Steve’s studio at Towson University outside of Baltimore, where he’s a second year MFA candidate. You can check out his work space, and our conversation, after the jump. –Matthew Smith, Washington, D.C. Contributor


Steven Riddle | A Still History, 2011, marker, gouache, acrylic, oil-based mono type, collage on paper, 26 × 33″

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Another place and time: Ian Whitmore at G Fine Art by New American Paintings
February 29, 2012, 8:15 am
Filed under: Review | Tags: , , , , , ,

It wasn’t long ago that Ian Whitmore was selling out multiple shows in Washington, D.C. before his paintings were even hung for opening night. It may have been a sign of the times — those shows at the now-defunct Fusebox gallery in the mid 00s were smack dab in the middle of the so-called great contemporary art bubble. But it was also a testament to Whitmore’s virtuosity, the right combination of bravura and painterly intellect that had just about every arts writer in town gushing, including younger incarnations of Tyler Green and Blake Gopnik.

So it wasn’t entirely surprising that Whitmore ultimately sought to broaden his artistic experiences in New York, leaving D.C. a few months before the opening of his 2009 show at G Fine Art. The news was noteworthy enough that Gopnik wrote about it for the Post, detailing the potential rewards and pitfalls of such a move. And now, three years later, the former Washingtonian returns to G Fine Art with his third solo show at the gallery, A Devil, a Shadow, the Notice of a Small Falling Leaf. The exhibition is made up entirely of paintings Whitmore composed after his departure, perhaps hinting at what’s occupied his mind since leaving D.C. behind. More after the jump. –Matthew Smith, Washington, D.C. contributor


Ian Whitmore | The Bells Through the Leaves, 2008-2012, 16″ x 16″, oil on linen (courtesy G Fine Art)

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Le Sigh: Gina Beavers at Nudashank by New American Paintings
February 24, 2012, 8:15 am
Filed under: DC, Review | Tags: , , , ,

There’s no escaping the physicality of Gina Beavers’ paintings. Culled from the unremarkable — quotidian moments and bits of cultural flotsam — her work is grounded by the immediacy of her source material. Despite the occasional abstraction, these representations aren’t meant to veer far from their physical subjects; they’re tethered to experiential moments that are as concrete as the sculptural reliefs on her canvases. Indeed, borrowing from the pictorial language of naive painting, Beavers’ works suggest redemption for what’s unheroic among us. Le Sigh, her solo show at Nudashank in Baltimore, opened earlier this month and I had the chance to drop by for a visit. – Matthew Smith, Washington, D.C. contributor


Gina beavers | 6-color palette, acrylic & paintbrush on canvas, 12” x 14”, 2011, (courtesy Nudashank and the artist)

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Collecting Critically: A Q&A with Henry L. Thaggert by New American Paintings

Andy Warhol’s relationship to abstraction is charged. Despite a latecareer painterlyimpulse — which included the Shadows series currently exhibiting at the Hirshhorn — his pictorial language based on representation fundamentally questioned the narrative of post-war painting as defined by Clement Greenberg. And the implications of Pop Art’s emergence over Abstract Expressionism were significant, not least for black artists as changes in collecting preferences opened new doors for art about the African American experience. This was the premise of a talk by art collector Henry Thaggert at the Philips Collection in Washington D.C. a few years back. It’s a perspective that Kara Walker seems to echo, at least indirectly, in a talk on Andy Warhol scheduled for next week at the Hirshhorn. I recently caught up with Thaggert to talk further about Warhol, get his thoughts on collecting art, and about his involvement in the local art scene. – Matthew Smith, D.C. Contributor


Andy Warhol | Shadows, 1978-79. Dia Art Foundation. © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. Photo: Cathy Carver.

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Historical Lineage: Q&A with Matthew Craven by New American Paintings

Much of Matthew Craven’s meticulous work exists as both colorful abstraction and surreal historical document. His transformation of  images appropriated from history textbooks nudge and reconfigure the original historical narratives. And his modular treatment of familiar forms unexpectedly activates their hidden potential for abstraction. Painting, drawing, collage and installation are linked in Craven’s practice through his fastidiously precise lines, which run across works and from project to project. Last week I caught up with the Brooklyn-based artist — whose work is currently in the group show Paper Chasers at Nudashank — to talk about his work, his influences, and time travel. Our conversation, and lots of images, after the jump. -Matthew Smith, D.C. contributor


Matthew Craven | wooden teeth., 2010, mixed media, 17″ x 13″ courtesy of the artist
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