Jill Nathanson on Dan Christensen: Coming to artistic maturity immersed in Color Field painting, I ardently distinguished between the most pure, exemplary works and others that were merely beautiful or "good painting." I had not thought of Christensen as painting the most defining works (of what I felt to be a visionary art of painting with light) but Berry Campbell’s exhibition of Early Sprays in 2019 belatedly corrected me.
Jill Nathanson In her reduction of painting to its physical essence, Jill Nathanson belongs to the Color Field legacy, but her immersive and sensual paintings stand in a category of their own. Consisting of unusual hues of overlapping layers of variable translucency, they create emotionally nuanced experiences with yet enough tension to engage our contemplation. Empirical Empyrean, the title of one of her paintings her second exhibition at Berry Campbell, suggests the fine line on which her work rests. Read Full Biography
Dan Christensen | Pollux | 1968 | Berry Campbell Gallery
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Walter Darby Bannard, Cloud Comb, 1981
Acrylic on canvas, 74 1/2 x 66 in.
James Walsh on Walter Darby Bannard: Darby Bannard's Cloud Comb, 1981 was painted at the culmination of a ten-year run of works in which he was combining a surface contrast of thickened acrylic gel drawing and poured liquid acrylic. Cloud Comb was cropped out of a large sheet of canvas roughly ten by twenty feet that was affixed to a dead level horizontal painting dock. Several other paintings were cropped out of the same sheet and stretched. The billowing vector of Cloud Comb's drawing presage the next phase of Bannard's 'scallop' paintings. I remember seeing Cloud Comb in Darby's May 1981 show — just about forty years ago to the day — it was a knockout then and gets better every time I've been able to see it. There is a 'bannardesque' dynamic between the implied expansiveness of the drawing and the cool and full resonance of the painting. This is a 'power' painting — you just want to keep looking at it.
James Walsh (b. 1954) Jim's style is something more like an anti-style. A Walsh is recognizable by its dramatic paint effects, usually with one or two veritable tidal waves of acrylic paint on an otherwise placid ocean of color. But formal commonalities end there. The only rule in play is continual reinvention from work to work. This means that color can vary widely, from acidic primaries to foggy neutrals. The applications range from gigantic brushwork to fluid pours. Surface effects include deliberate application of flat color next to mysterious laminations formed by transparent acrylic bases flecked with liquid paint.
It's a truism that reproduction doesn't do justice to good painting, but it's especially apt in Jim's case, as his canvases sometimes have crests of paint several inches thick adorning areas that have been stained, glazed, or scraped down to the cotton. Though hung on the wall and meant to be viewed from the front, many of them have a depth of six or eight inches. Crucial, though, is that Jim is employing the entire depth. Read Full Biography
Elaine de Kooning, Six Horses: Blue Wall | SOLD, 1987
Acrylic on canvas, 46 x 60 in.
Susan Vecsey on Elaine de Kooning: I love how this painting reveals itself more and more as you spend time with it. There are images within images, stillness and movement. And the image is so contained, horses and fragments of horses pushing against the edges of the painting.
Susan Vecsey (b. 1971) Susan Vecsey was born in New Jersey and currently lives and works in both New York City and East Hampton, New York. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from Barnard College, Columbia University, New York and her Master of Fine Arts from the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture, studying under Graham Nickson. In 2012, Vecsey was a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome.
Vecsey had a solo museum exhibition at the Greenville County Museum, South Carolina, in 2017 that was accompanied by an exhibition catalogue with an essay by Phyllis Tuchman. “Unlike, say, Fairfield Porter, another East End artist, Vecsey is less involved with the here and now. She’s not recording the details of daily life. She’s reminding you of places where you have been. With swooping curves, extended horizon lines, and a mix of tonal colors, Vecsey’s compelling images have the character of memories, recollections, reveries. You’re revisiting sites of pleasure and wonderment.” Read Full Biography
Elaine de Kooning | Six Horses: Blue Wall | SOLD | 1987 | Berry Campbell Gallery
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