Monthly Archives: February 2012

Elizabeth Peyton

Elizabeth Peyton is a New York based painter who paints mostly portraits, many of them friends, fellow artists, musicians and celebrities.

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Here is an audio interview with her on the occassion of her 2009 exhibition at the New Museum in New York.: It’s pretty short but provides an interesting point of view of her work where she discusses it in terms of positivity rather than irony, and in relation to art and life. Here is a New York Times review of the same show:

Here are more images of her work:


Silke Otto Knapp

Silke Otto Knapp is a London based painter whose work draws inspiration from contemporary and historical dance. Her past work often featured L.A. skylines, Las Vegas’s neon boulevards, and lush gardens. She often paints from photographs she has taken herself or has found somewhere, such as in a magazine.

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Her 2009 exhibition at the Banff Centre is described as: Inspired by the productions of Bronislava Nijinska, the ballet master George Balanchine, and the American avant-garde dancer Yvonne Rainer, particularly Rainer’s departure from the conventions of theatrical dance in her minimalist performance Trio A (1966), Otto-Knapp’s posed figures capture the beauty and contemporaneity of these iconic performances. (

Here is an excerpt from an article about her work in Frieze:

One has the impression of seeing film stills from vintage footage of classic modern ballets in the clearly delineated compositions, all of which shimmer gracefully between muted hues of midnight blue–black, grey and silvery white. Painting in watercolour and gouache on canvas, Otto-Knapp often washes layers off her work before repainting over the residue. As a result, the surfaces of most of her images look very flat: gestural applications of paint and shadowy fields of colour float over the canvas without covering it or looking thickly applied. (from

You can see more images of her work here:

Elizabeth McIntosh

Elizabeth McIntosh is a Canadian artist who lives in Vancouver. She works primarily with painting but also with collage and installation.

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Here is a bio about her work from her gallery:

For the past 17 years McIntosh has explored abstraction beyond the conventions established by Modernist abstract painting. She is not interested in exercises in tastefully resolving individual compositions but in unfolding the implications of particular structural inclinations from the history of painting and reiterating and modulating these forms through devices that render them strange. For example, she often commences a painting with an excerpt or passage of a historical painting. This starting point enters into a dialogue with subsequent layers and over-painted forms; at times it is completely covered over as she explores newfound relationships. Through soft edges, awkward shapes, and curious underpaintings, her paintings resist the authority of hardedge geometric abstraction.

You can see more images of her work here:

Here are some install shots of a small exhibition she had in Vancouver at an artist run space (actually run by some friends of mine) in Vancouver. She painted the walls peach for her install.

Linda Besemer

Linda Besemer is an LA based painter who works with abraction and is interested in questions around gender and sexuality. There is a great article she wrote on this topic here:

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You can see more images of her work here:

Here is an article about her work here from Frieze:

William Kentridge

I believe that in the indeterminacy of drawing, the contingent way that images arrive in the work, lies some kind of model of how we live our lives. The activity of drawing is a way of trying to understand who we are or how we operate in the world.

– William Kentridge

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Here are some links to animations by the South African artist William Kentridge:

Here is an interview with him:

And an excerpt from an online review of his work:

William Kentridge is from and of South Africa. His career can be seen as the struggle of a privileged white male, trying to find a language that lets him understand his place in a society riven by apartheid. A strong political pathos pervades his work, yet though Kentridge’s sympathy for the oppressed classes is strong and unwavering, it would be unfair to take the reductive step of labeling it simply ‘political art’. This difficult (and successful) brinksmanship is achieved by the intense ambivalence with which the artist places himself at the center of every piece, a sort of schizophrenic Janus that is, as an artist, sympathetic to the lower class’s plight, but also, as a white, middle-class man, an agent of its residual oppression. (You can read the rest of it here:

And a review in the New York Times of his recent exhibition at the MOMA:

Ross Bleckner

As some of you are working on themes like space, clouds, the intergallactic, I thought of Ross Bleckner’s work. You can see his website here:

I can’t suggest trying to see them in person enough or at least in a book in a bigger reproduction as his works often have incredible optical effects that you really can’t see in the reproductions online. Seeing them in the person is a totally different experience.

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Abject Expressionism show in Pasadena

I went to see the Pacific Standard Time show, “Abject Expressionism” yesterday. I thought that it was really great. It won’t count for one of your gallery visits as it is a group show but I think it’s worth seeing.

Here are some reviews of it:

And the show info:

Rebecca Morris

Rebecca Morris

Rebecca Morris is an LA based artist who works with abstraction.

Time Out New York writes:

Rebecca Morris makes abstract paintings that run somewhat against the grain of current fashion. They are heartfelt, as opposed to drenched in that comforting, cynical, isn’t-it-all-such-a-gas attitude called irony. Morris believes in Painting with a capital P, and moreover, in Abstraction with a capital A. She’s even written a manifesto with lines like, “Whip out the masterpieces” and “Abstraction never left, motherfuckers!”

Morris’s newest paintings find her reveling in the pleasures of geometric shapes, arrows and sweet nothings. Sometimes, these are outlined with paint on an all-white or mottled canvas, and then filled in with stripes, brushstrokes or daubs. Morris paints on the floor atop a tarp, and the best thing in the show features pieces of that splattered studio drop cloth cut into shapes on top of a gold background— a move that accentuates the striking negative-positive effect of the composition.

In these offbeat, folksy, messiness-meets-modernism works, Morris displays her unequivocal investment in a personal pictorial language. Still, though her paintings radiate charm and earnestness, they don’t quite repudiate the mechanics of abstraction today. She actually follows many of the same rules as other painters of her generation—which is to say that she references art history as much as she breaks from it. But she is fearless in laying bare her flaws, even as she displays her talents. So hurray that she allows her paintings to exist as they are, without qualifications. (from

Here are some images of her work at a solo show at The Renaissance Society in 2005:

And images from a more recent exhibition Galerie Barbara Weiss:

And from an even more recent exhibition in New York:


Greg Parma Smith

Here is another artist who is interested in the figure.

About his recent show at Balice Hertling & Lewis New York:

These paintings are concerned with two ‘figurative’ subcultures: academic figure painting and diaristic zine comics. Both fixate on the human body: for the former, it is a naturalized humanist subject, physically self-evident; for the latter, an avatar within a real-life narrative that offers the stylized self as DIY product. The paintings depict, literally, nude art workers and artist-protagonists.

For more images and about the show: