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Painters' Table: Top 10 Best Posts: February 2012

Posted: 03/14/2012 12:55 pm

The February painting blogosphere in a word: Thoughtful. No matter the subject, provisional painting, painters' paintings, or plein-air painting, the depth of thought devoted to the art of painting was uniquely evident.

February began with Raphael Rubinstein's essay "To Rest Lightly on Earth," a follow up to his seminal 2007 essay "Provisional Painting." The new essay expands the lineage of provisional painting -- the contemporary trend of paintings that "look casual, dashed-off, tentative, unfinished or self-cancelling" -- to include Giacometti and the Abstract Expressionists. Rubinstein explores the notion that provisional painting, rather than reflecting a carefree lightness, comes from a committed thoughtfulness and attentiveness to the possibilities open to painting. Artist Matthew Ballou's piece "Diebenkorn: Provisional Action, Provisional Vision" finds surprising and convincing connections to this kind of provisional approach in Richard Diebenkorn's Ocean Park paintings, which are currently on view at the Orange County Museum of Art.

Other posts of note in February included painter Brian Dupont's reflection on Bill Jensen as a "painters' painter," and videos of Alan Gouk and Sangram Majumdar speaking eloquently about their artistic processes and concerns in front of their work. Larry Groff continued his series of in-depth interviews of figurative painters, talking with Seattle-based plein-air painter Kurt Solmssen.

Additionally, two beautiful image blogs displayed works by artists that deserve more attention: contemporary artist Emily Nelligan and 19th century American painter John Frederick Kensett. Finally, an excellent 2009 essay on Mark Rothko's early life in Portland, Oregon was popular in February, providing a fascinating introduction to the Portland Art Museum's current retrospective of paintings by Mark Rothko.

So, read on... 10 great posts are below, and you can find more everyday on Painters' Table, the magazine of the painting blogosphere.

Provisional Painting: Part 2
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Sergej Jensen, Untitled, 2010, Stained and dyed sewn fabrics, 122 x 118 inches, (courtesy Anton Kern Gallery, New York)


The must read follow up to Raphael Rubinstein's influential essay "Provisional Painting."


Starting with James Lord's observations of Giacometti's intense process, a process that ended in abandonment, Rubinstein tests the theory of "provisional painting," asking: "What does it mean to believe that in order to create a work of art one must entertain the 'permanent possibility' of abandoning and to believe that something called 'freedom' inheres in this situation?"

Read the full article at Art in America
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