Posts Tagged ‘abstract painting’

Faculty Updates

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

What have SVACE faculty members been up to? We have exciting updates from Melissa MeyerSteve Brodner, and Jeanette Spicer!

Melissa Meyer at Lennon Weinberg, Inc.

Melissa Meyer at Lennon Weinberg, Inc.

Melissa Meyer has a solo show of new abstract paintings at Lennon Weinberg, Inc in Chelsea. This is her fourth solo exhibition at the gallery. Several of the paintings reflect influences from a mural commissioned by the Art in Embassies program for the entrance to a new American Embassy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Steve Brodner for The Boston Globe

Steve Brodner for The Boston Globe

Steve Brodner illustrated “Who will win the battle of Brooklyn?” for The Boston Globe. In the same week, he participated in a MoCCA Arts Festival panel discussion, “You Can Get Killed Doing This: Sketches from the Satire Biz,” with Rick Meyerowitz, Sean Kelly, and Peter Kuper.

Jeanette Spicer, "Weekend Morning," archival pigment print, 2014

Jeanette Spicer, “Weekend Morning,” archival pigment print, 2014

Jeanette Spicer is included in Dwelling, a group show with six other female artists exploring women, the interior, and the precarity of domestic spaces, opening at Susan Eley Fine Art on April 7.

See more updates on our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram pages!


Residency Alum Interview: Detlef E. Aderhold

Monday, February 29th, 2016

Residency Alum Interview: Detlef E. Aderhold (Painting and Mixed Media Residency, 2014)

An SVA Summer Residency Program is a great way to immerse yourself in the New York Art world, but it can prove just as valuable for the community that it creates between residents. For example, Detlef E. Aderhold participated in the Painting and Mixed Media residency in 2014, and his time there led to collaborations with critic and Summer Residency coordinator, Eric Sutphin, whom he had met while attending. Eric has curated Detlef’s work for an exhibition at Rogue Space: Chelsea, and more recently in an exhibition in Germany.

Will Patterson of SVACE asked both Detlef and Eric a few questions about their thoughts on painting, their experience in the Residency Program and what they have been up to since meeting in 2014.

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Detlef E. Aderhold, “Genau”, mixed media, 80x110cm, 2015

Will: Why do you think painting is important as a medium?

Detlef E. Aderhold: The discussion about painting being alive or dead has been going on for a long time. It has even been suggested that painting reached its final stage with Kasimir Malevich’s Black Quadrat in 1915. In 1997, Catherine David said that painting as a form is “illegitimate,” and Documenta X (which she curated) served to substantiate her opinion. But then Luc Tuymans responded to David’s claim with a series of paintings that he titled Illegitimate. For me, painting is still very much alive, it’s my medium, and through it I can best develop and express my ideas, fantasies and impressions of the world.

Eric Sutphin: I contribute to a website with the tongue-in-cheek title Painting is Dead. It was started by a painter named Scott Robinson and its focus is painting. Painting is Dead publishes reviews, interviews and conversations with painters and being a part of that project has demonstrated to me that painting is still a medium that excites and challenges people. I think because painting has such an enormous and complex history and is tied to the development of societies and cultures at large, that its import remains inescapable.

Will: How have the connections you made during the Summer Residency Program expanded your artistic practice?

DE: I stay in contact with some of the fellow residents via social networks and email. We share new work with each other and continue to support each other’s artistic practices.

ES: Since I began working with the Residency in 2013, I have met artists from all over the world. I have had the opportunity to talk with and in some instances work with these artists beyond the program. I’ve learned about arts communities in Brazil, Tel Aviv, Mexico City, Melbourne, among many other places. I’ve seen firsthand the energy and excitement of an expanding global network of artists who come together and stay connected through the Residency.

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Installation View, “Signs: Part 1”, 12:1-12:23, 2015

Will: How did the program expand your own studio practice? Do you feel that you became more experimental in your approach to painting as a result of the immersion and exposure to the diverse range of faculty and fellow residents?

DE: At first it was difficult to integrate and follow the new ideas into my work. When I returned to my studio in Germany, I had to process the experience and to figure out how to integrate the residency experience into my old studio practice. At the time, my studio contained unfinished work and old habits. I needed time until I was able to implement my “New York ideas” into the old environment. But as I got back to work in my studio, all of these different influences and experiences came to fruition. As a result, I am much more experimental in my work now. Some of my paintings have begun to become more sculptural and I have begun to explore installation.

Will: Since completing the residency, you have gone on to have multiple exhibitions and have been included in a number of international art fairs. What have been some of the highlights of your career since completing the program?

DE: The first highlight was my solo show at Rogue Space: Chelsea in New York in the fall of 2014. Eric Sutphin curated that show and I was surprised by the choices he made and how everything was connected in the end. During the opening and while the show was up, I reconnected with some of the friends I made during the residency, including faculty members. In summer of 2015, I was selected for a juried show at the Islip Art Museum. I recently had a show in Venice during the Biennale–that was a great experience. I won the Secret Art Prize (mixed media category) and my work was shown, along with some of the other winners, in London’s East End. I was selected to be the Artist-in- Residence on Villingili Island, Maldives for a month during December and January. The unfamiliar setting, the vibrant colors, the air and the sea right outside of my studio was a wonderful way to invigorate my work. During that residency, I had the opportunity to talk about art with people from all over the world.

ES: My connection with Detlef was completely natural. It started when he was preparing for the 2014 Open Studio, I popped in to his studio one afternoon and helped him hang his show and we connected and worked well together. Since then, I’ve curated two of his shows (in New York and in Germany.) Former residents have contacted me after the residency for advice about graduate school, which for me is very rewarding; to be able to help artists along in their professional development.


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Detlef Aderhold, “An End Has A Start,” 150 x 150 cm, 2015, mixed media on canvas



Will: What do you think of the state of painting in 2016? Do you feel that the medium has changed or is changing in recent years?

DE: My feeling for painting shifted during my time in the residency through my exposure to faculty critiques, viewing contemporary art on our gallery visits, as well as through discussions with the fellow residents. Today, there are endless ways to deal with painting. With the end of the postmodern era, there are no regulations on how an artist should paint: (s)he can use everything (s)he thinks important for his or her creative work. Painting will continue to include new media and will look critically at, or be part of, larger projects like installation and performance. In our digital world, images play a very important role, but unlike digital images, a painted picture is very special. For me, painting is, and will always be, about material: canvas, pigment, and brushes. Painting is about invention and reinvention, critical thinking, and conceiving of new strategies for complex problems– it is still a very powerful medium.

ES: Painting is always looking for alibis. Over the last 20 years or so, painting has folded a multiplicity of other media into itself: neon, digital elements, video, performance, sculpture etc. These strategies have yielded exciting results at times, but to me, great painting relies on its subject matter and content to do the work and assert its vitality. I’m old fashioned in that way. It often seems to me that painters try to do too many things without really getting into the meat of the medium. When this happens, the work feels confused.

Will: What’s on the horizon for you? Are there any plans for future collaborations with fellow residents?

DE: In April this year I will have a solo show in Perugia, Italy. In June, Part II of my solo exhibition Signs (also curated by Eric Sutphin) will open in June in Germany. During the same time there will be a solo show at a gallery in Paris. Some of my paintings will also be shown at Art Madrid and Scope Basel. In 2017, I will exhibit with fellow SVA resident Gail Winbury at the historic Heinrich Heine Haus in Luneburg, Germany.

ES: I’ve been reviewing a lot for Art in America and there will be opportunities for international stories and coverage there. I am working on a biography of Rosemarie Beck (1923-2003), a post-war painter who began her career as a second-wave abstract expressionist. In the late 1950’s, she turned to narrative painting. That project has been very important and I am working on organizing an exhibition of her work for 2017.

Eric Sutphin (l) and Detlef E. Ederhold (r)

Eric Sutphin (l) and Detlef E. Ederhold (r)

Empire of Dirt

Friday, October 19th, 2012

The most recent of Peter Young’s abstract paintings are up now at Algus Greenspon gallery.  Collectively titled White Ellipse, and individually titled chronologically, they are the most recent paintings he began exhibiting in 1967.  He stopped painting around 2004, reportedly, because his activism took over after Bush invaded Iraq.

Peter Young at Algus Greenspon

Backstory: the legend of Peter Young centers on his abandonment of New York when his career blossomed.  Through almost ten years in NYC, which included art history studies at NYU, a brief marriage to Twyla Tharp, and a job at Pace Gallery, Young’s rapid success culminated in museum shows and a two-person show at Leo Castelli.  However, the Castelli show opened while he was on a vision quest in Costa Rica, followed by travels all over the Western hemisphere.  By the time Artforum featured him, he had already left NYC for good and “would never call it home again.”  Most artists pray for these kinds of breakthroughs, so why did he leave it all behind?  Ben La Rocco attributes it to the increasing factionalism of New York’s art world and its myopic market competition.  The rat race!  La Rocco writes:

“This was a grim and competitive business and in one sense, Young’s background placed him in the perfect position to grab a piece of the action—he already knew the lingo. In another, more important way, it left him disinclined to do so. He came from a world where art was a part of the fabric of everyday life and not the monastic discipline now imposed on artists in the country’s largest metropolis. Young’s experiences in the west had placed him near the center of American creativity and its European roots. What he found there was free and easy to love. The powerfully creative personalities who had guided him were not academics. They didn’t teach him art. Instead, as Young describes, ‘What they were teaching me was a joie de vie—things that went along with painting.’  As such, their influence could not have been stronger—Young still considers himself a Surrealist in essence. His congenial relationship to history was out of keeping with the exclusive ambition of New York’s new artist and the culture clash he experienced could only have confounded him. It must have been a little like coming from another planet. Young’s departure was not an attempt to expand his world, but a return to the expanded world he already knew.”

So it’s no wonder that Peter Young now volunteers to help Mexican immigrants.  He might sympathize with the desperate compulsion by which people yearn for what seems like a better world. (Is it the same sympathy when immigrants decide to return home?)  A similar horizon-gazing might also illuminate how hallucinogens have driven his painting experiments (so much that writers have to mention it):

“Mr. Young was a painter of the 1960s in just about every sense of the word, up to and including the early use of LSD.” –Roberta Smith

“Psychedelic Rorschach paintings” –Daniel Kunitz

“In a curious way, all the little dots…reinforce the sensation, cherished by Young, of an animistic presence inherent in objects. This attitude was probably strengthened by the visual effects of hallucinogens and marijuana which he started taking about this time; he has spoken of the kind of ‘patterning overlying and underlying reality’ related to that experience.”

“…he achieved only occasionally the dazzling radiance of light which he had in mind, a vision intensified by his experience with hallucinogens, which he took most frequently during that time.”

“The dynamic expanding and contracting swirls and counterswirls into which Young organized the atomlike units of his painting resemble the constant buzzing activity of particles which he perceives while under hallucinogens when, as he says, he can actually ‘see the air.'” –Ellen H. Johnson

“These are truly hallucinatory and contemplative works about the instability, dormancy, and excitability of paint.” –Luke Stettner

“I’ll have what he’s having!” -Me

Peter Young’s career continued to rise even after he left NYC, and curators included him in American and European group shows every few years, but his New York solo exhibitions dwindled.  In 2007, PS1 reintroduced to New York audiences Young’s paintings made between 1963 and 1977.  The Algus Greenspon exhibition brings us the most recent paintings, selected from a series made between 1995 and 2004.

All of the paintings are acrylic and graphite on canvas, built in layers of colorful, splashy grounds; traced, overlapping ellipses; and opaque white-outs.  They might surprise you with depths and densities that take a moment to unwind.

Peter Young, ‘#52 – 1996′, 1996 (Detail)

Strikingly, the paintings here demonstrate a skepticism or hesitation about color.  Several have very limited palettes of color splashed on in thin, disinterested, dribbling layers, such as #48-1996.  A little more color creeps in with #52-1996, then we get full spectrum in #59-1997, with diluted, giddy brush strokes beneath layers of overlapping ellipses.  At the center of #59-1997 is – by chance – a grapefruit-red dot to beckon you through the bubble barrage. These works convey confidence without bravura and expedience without racing.  This might be what the gallery’s press release means by “radiant tentativeness.”

Peter Young, ‘#59 – 1997′, 1997

#56-1997 looks like a bleary landscape.  Its top half is a choppy stretch of blue brushstrokes, while the bottom is paved with earthy, horizontal strokes.  Asymmetry is a factor in other work, too. In #50-1996, staccacto, colorful clusters gravitate centripetally toward weightier bands of primaries, all whirling into an earthy brown.  #49-1996 feels like de Kooning, at a glance, with ribbons of iridescent reds tumbling toward the bottom of the canvas.  It is as reflective and refractive as a glass of melting ice cubes.  Even bolder is #46-1996, with muscular flights of blue and red caught in a twister hovering behind the white ellipses.

Peter Young, ‘#46 – 1996′, 1996

In 1960, Peter Young left California to become an artist in New York.  1969, he followed his bliss and left behind his success in the New York art world.  After traveling, and after settling near the border with Mexico, he continued to paint.  But since he’s left behind his success in the painters’ life of the mind, what will it take to bring him back?