New American Paintings/Blog

Painting as Shorthand: the lawn chair sculptures of Patrick McDonough by New American Paintings
May 8, 2013, 8:30 am
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Patrick McDonough’s lawn chairs are not meant for sitting. And if they begin to seem functional, well, it’s all pretend. The sculptures offer the formal concepts of lawn chairs without actually closing the deal — legs and armrests have gone missing, for starters, and the works themselves are decidedly non functional. Instead of functionality McDonough is interested in their allusions to an American iconography of leisure. Take a look at them and it’s not difficult to imagine the smell of freshly cut grass or the skyward boom of summertime fireworks. It’s part of what the artist describes as his overarching interest in the aesthetics of free time. But there’s something else that’s also at work here; each piece has a significant stake in pure color, in hard edged geometry, and in the rectangular chromatic plane. You won’t need to dig too deep before you start thinking of abstract painting. – Matthew Smith, Washington, D.C. Contributor

Patrick McDonough| 122909-lawn chair, Wood, Paint, Outdoor Furniture Fabric, Hardware 

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Matthew Smith’s Concrete Abstract at Heiner Contemporary by New American Paintings

Our DC Blog Contributor, Matthew Smith, has curated a fantastic group exhibition at Heiner Contemporary called, Concrete Abstract, which runs through April 20th. In the show, which includes artists Seth Adelsberger, Lisa Dillin, Jeremy Flick, Steven Frost, Sue Johnson, Becca Kallem, Patrick McDonough, Danielle Mysliwiec, and Matthew Smith, the curator “…explores the confluence of abstraction with the everyday” As the press release continues, “The works in the show cultivate a non-representational visual language that emerges from familiar ready-made objects, whether these objects are found or alluded to compositionally. Their formal and functional properties provide the contextual framework for works that are ultimately understood visually via their entanglement with abstraction, even as they remain securely tethered to the real, concrete world.”

After the jump, see more images from the exhibition and read more from the press release.

Jeremy Flick | Contrapuntal Derivation no. 744703807, 2013, acrylic and gouache on panel, 8 x 8 inches

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Dead Zone: Alex Da Corte at Nudashank by New American Paintings

Technically speaking, Dead Zone (at Nudashank through March 17) is a group show curated by Philly-based artist Alex Da Corte. But this description isn’t really accurate. Rather than playing the role of curator, Da Corte is bringing in works by other artists and using them as additional materials in his sculptural assemblages. Along with the dollar store objects that Da Corte normally uses to build his works, like fringe or leggings, the list of materials for the pieces in Dead Zone also include Andrew Gbur’s “Untitled” or Sean Fitzgerald’s “16 Colors (as in the image below).  Issues of authorship, appropriation, and attribution come to the fore, as does a sense that we might be flipping through Tumblr. — Matthew Smith, Washington, D.C. contributor

DZ 9
Alex Da Corte
Big Brothers
Foam, Fringe, Bleach, Andrew Gbur’s “Untitled”, Ratchet Strap, Sean Fitzgerald’s “16 Colors”, Leggings, Plastic Grapes, Broken Christmas Ornament

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NAP Contributor Tribute by New American Paintings
February 1, 2013, 8:30 am
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In case you haven’t noticed, we have the best art writers in the world. Seriously, it’s true. Our blog contributors are stationed all over the country, scoping out shows, visiting studios, and interviewing the best contemporary painters in the art world. Recently we asked our most prolific bloggers to answer a few questions about themselves and their thoughts on 2012. It’s your chance to get to know a handful of the talented individuals that bring you the New American Paintings/Blog! There are many more writers, and we hope to feature them soon.

Thanks to everyone that contributes to our blog, helping us bring our readers rich and exciting content on a daily basis!

When we asked Brian Fee which piece “moved him” in 2012, he responded: James Rosenquist | F-111 Reinstallation, 1964-65, Oil on canvas with aluminum, twenty-three sections, 10×86′

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The Unf**kable Frontier: Q&A with Felipe Pereira Goncalves by New American Paintings
January 24, 2013, 8:30 am
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The limits of the human mind have something to do with really big numbers. There’s no insight into knowing that Earth is one hundred million miles away from the Sun, for example — it’s just real far. Partly, it’s a matter of scale. Cornell mathematician Steve Strogatz tries to rein in this vastness in his description of the Sagan Planet Walk, a scaled replica of the solar system in Ithaca, NY. There, Earth is the size of a pea and just a couple of steps away from the sun, itself the size of a serving plate. Pluto, the farthest planet in the solar system, is scaled to the size of a couscous grain and nearly a mile away, or a twenty minute walk. Needless to say there’s no Sagan Planet Walk that includes the other 100 billion stars in the Milky Way, or the rest of the 100 billion visible galaxies in the universe. — Matthew Smith, Washington, D.C. contributor

Unfuckable Frontier
Felipe Pereira Goncalves  | space…the unfuckable frontier, 2011, acrylic and spray paints,glue, and glitter on canvas, 32″x 50″

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Social Practice: A Q&A with Laura Hudson by New American Paintings
November 20, 2012, 8:28 am
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Laura Hudson (NAP #99) has been getting out of the studio. The Baltimore-based painter organizes participatory events, documents them on video, then culls her compositions from the nuanced moments hidden in the hours of footage. For her latest project Laura organized a sleepover at the Arlington Arts Center in suburban Washington, DC. The event was meant to be a sentimental throwback to the days of slumber parties — the artist and 15 of her friends ate junk food, chatted, and played cards all night before nodding off into sleeping bags. It’s all part of her painting process now, bringing her together with friends as much as it pushes her into the isolation of the studio.

The resultant series of paintings, On Common Ground, are currently exhibiting in the same gallery space where the sleepover was organized. In this regard they’re meant to function like a site-specific installation, integrating the viewer into the composition and blurring the boundary between the audience and the painting. Another project, Art Opening (pictured below), takes what is perhaps a more direct path at this, as painted subjects and gallery goers comingle in the same functional space.

I recently had the chance to chat with Laura about her work and her process. Our conversation after the jump. — Matthew Smith, Washington, D.C. contributor

Laura Hudson | Installation view of Art Opening | 2012, image courtesy of the artist

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Modular Abstraction: A Q&A with Judy Rushin by New American Paintings
October 31, 2012, 8:27 am
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Practical necessity is Judy Rushin’s (NAP #64, #76, #100) muse. Well, not exactly. Her Modular series of sculptural paintings are made to be disassembled and reconfigured again; site-specific works that can travel well. Individual modules are aggregated into compositions for new exhibition layouts, then stacked and shipped. They’re spatially and geographically untethered — mobile paintings for a mobile economy. Indeed, if practical necessity is the unintended muse of most projects (unless your name is Jeff Koons), Rushin’s Modular paintings offer the idea of practical necessity as an evocative conceptual and material framework. There’s a clear immediacy to them, perhaps because they reflect our own untethered geographies.

Judy Rushin | Installation view of Modular series. Image courtesy of the artist.

Judy was one of the independent artists exhibiting at the (e)merge art fair in D.C. a few weeks ago, and I recently caught up with her to chat about her work and her process. —Matthew Smith, Washington, D.C. contributor  Continue reading

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