Another time, another space

Tuesday Night Painting #28

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Hello painters,

Last night was the first installment of my Landscape to Abstraction class. I'm very pleased to report that this class SOLD OUT to the MAX. If you were unable to enroll in this session, send me an email to get on the waitlist for the next one. I'll make an announcement here of when the next round of class offerings will be happening.



Although we've dipped into it a bit before, the purpose of this newsletter isn't really focused on current events. But it feels odd to be writing something weekly without acknowledging the insanity unfolding around us.

For a lot of people, it's sports and Netflix that provide the bubble you can enter into to forget about the wider world. For a smaller (but dedicated and passionate) audience, art operates the same way, which I totally get. You can't be tuned in all the time, or else your mind is going to explode.

One thing that's difficult is giving artwork the proper context, since there are many lenses through which work can be viewed. But I always like to give my students an idea of what is happening historically when all of these artistic masterpieces are being created. 

I want to highly recommend this article by Constance Grady that deals with the issue of "talking about art during the apocalypse". She makes some interesting points about why it's "valuable to read art without reducing it to its relationship to the state."

Let me know what you think about this article and if its arguments rang true with you. Until next time, I'll leave you with a couple more links of show reviews and articles that I found worthwhile. Enjoy!

Odili Donald Odita, “Another Space” (2019), acrylic on canvas, 84 x 108 inches 
Installation view, Odili Donald Odita: Mirror
Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, NY, September 10–October 31
Long-time Tuesday Night Painters might recognize the above work. These paintings by Odili Donald Odita are featured in a new solo exhibition at Jack Shainman Gallery in NYC. 

I've shared the hard-edge, geometric work of Odili Donald Odita with my classes before, since he is a great artist to teach with. Odita gives us a lot to talk about and look at with his color schemes, composition, and the technique of achieving that super crisp, hard edge in acrylics.
Odili Donald Odita, “Fire” (2019), acrylic latex paint on aluminum-core fabricated wood panel with reconstituted wood veneer, 92 x 52 inches
Odili Donald Odita, “Dark Angel” (2020), acrylic latex paint on aluminum-core fabricated wood panel with reconstituted wood veneer, 92 x 52 inches
These new works were recently reviewed by critic John Yau in Hyperallergic, and you can find that review by clicking here. As always, Yau does an excellent close read of these new canvases and highlights a couple of interesting developments in the work of Odita.

Odita, in talking about his color palette, says that “In my process, I cannot make a color twice — it can only appear to be the same.” In the process of making his work, Odita is presented with one of the challenges of working with acrylics: the fact that it's difficult to color match a dried patch of acrylic paint with wet paint on your palette, because the color darkens when it dries. Matching a color requires guess work and a lot of patience. Odita embraces that problem by willfully not matching colors.

In Dark Angel, seen above, two bands of bright triangles are flanked by the faked wood pattern. The colored bands have a mirrored symmetry to them, but colors that appear similar, upon closer inspection, are actually different. This nearness but difference requires the viewer to take a second or a third look that keeps you engaged with the piece.
Read the rest of Yau's review at this link to find out more about the expansive references in Odita's work. The artist provides an interesting link between the geometric patterned abstractions of American art history with Nigerian shapes, patterns, and colorways. It can be a challenge to keep a genre like hard-ege painting fresh, since it has such a long history and has been explored in such depth, but Odita accomplishes it with aplomb.
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Other Painting News

Some new research has revealed the source imagery of Edward Hopper's earliest paintings. As a teenager Hopper had copied some paintings out of a magazine intended for that purpose, called the Art Interchange, which contained instructions for readers on how to recreate their images.

Austin Kleon has an excellent blog post on the importance of copying as a student in order to learn how the masters have done it. Copying a piece isn't plagiarism if you are honest about your sources and what you're trying to accomplish with it. Doing a "master study" of an extant masterpiece is a good way to develop a kind of muscle memory. You will remember the decisions that went into your copy and will be able to export some of those thought processes when it comes time to work on one of your originals.
And here is your weekly reminder that this newsletter is free but not cheapI've been spending more and more hours each week researching and writing about new artists for me and you to lovingly gaze at.
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Fascinating article about portraiture and Albrecht Durer. This from the NY Times felt more than just an article, it was an engaging lecture about a legendary portrait from the turn of the 16th century.
And here are a few pics from a gallery show in Austin I hope to check out soon, Capirotada from Gray Duck Gallery. Click through to the site for artist names and image details.
That'll do it for this week, painters. I've been loving this album by Tom Misch and Yussef Dayes called What Kinda Music. You can listen to the entire thing on Spotify but here are some select favorites on YouTube:

The Real
Lift Off

See you next time, and happy painting.
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