The paintings of Mary Judge, Pacita Abad, and more

Tuesday Night Painting #20

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Mary Judge
Exotic Hex Series, 11, powdered pigment on paper2007, 30 x 30 in

Hello painters, 

Welcome to Tuesday Night Painting #20! Just this past week I video-chatted with a group of my former painting students, which made me reflect back on when I started this letter. This newsletter serves as a sort of marker in time, since I began writing it when things were becoming Extremely Weird. I'm hoping there's a newsletter I'll have written that will mark the time when things start to get a whole lot better, and I'd rather it be issue #37 and not #256 (if I make it that far).

And yet, I'm thankful that, despite all the chaos and uncertainty of late, through this letter and other means I've been able to stay in touch with folks that had a real passion for painting and art making.

This summer and continuing into the fall I'll be thinking of some online classes and workshops that I can potentially offer. You'll hear about them here when I get them off the ground, and if I haven't seen you in one of my classes before, I look forward to meeting you. If you have any suggestions of things you'd like to learn or discuss, let me know with a reply back to this email.

This week I am going to break up the newsletter into a couple of mini-sections, and then let you explore the links and images further on your own. I come across a lot of different artists and links throughout the week and this time I have a lot to share.

The first group of images I will share with you come from the artist Mary Judge. The second group from the Hollis Taggart gallery, which is exhibiting a contemporary survey of painting. The third group will share the work of painter Pacita Abad, feature of a recent Google Doodle.

Scroll down to see these different groups of images. Hope you enjoy the work from this week!
Mary Judge is an artist who works in what she describes as a "post-minimal" style. She creates paintings with oils, with flashe, and also with powdered pigments.

Her artwork relies heavily on patterning and simple geometric shapes, and her color palettes are wide ranging, but ever so slightly muted. The brightest colors, the oranges and yellows, are often toned down ever so slightly, like shifting the saturation slider down a couple notches in Photoshop.

Recall that saturation is one of the three major terms we use to refer to colors. Also recall that you're able to adjust the saturation of your paint colors by mixing the complementary colors together.
Above: four different paintings from the artist's "Pop Flowers" series.

Judge writes that this series of powdered pigment paintings, of which there are many spanning multiple years of work, were inspired by "the geometric motifs found on local and ancient buidings in Cappadocia Turkey" where the artist had a residency in 2010.

The artist employs a series of stencils and a loosely knit bag of powdered pigment. She "pounces" the bag of pigment onto the open spaces of the stencil, leaving behind a colorful residue. This is the same technique that Renaissance era artists used to transfer their drawings onto walls for mural painting.
Above: two paintings executed in Flashe paint
Above: two paintings executed in oil paint

I enjoy the textures that Judge works into her canvases. She takes her very crisp geometrically painted patterns and splatters them with drips and smudges. To me, this reinforces the connections between her works and their inspirations.

It's clear that Judge has taken a lot away from her visits to Turkey and to Italy, on various residencies and research trips. She takes architectural features like tiles and other ornamental flourishes as the building blocks of her visual vocabulary. Then, she ages them, adding texture that gives the paintings a vintage feel.
Judge writes about her approach to the pandemic: "My self-assigned task during this studio lock down is to spin the straw of paint into gold; to grab hold of the memory and experience of beloved artworks and construct these into new paintings."

You can see more of Mary Judge's paintings by visiting her website here. And you can read some thoughts from her regarding a 2018 exhibition at this link here.

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Next I want to share with you an intriguing looking show that is opening to visitors. The NYC based gallery Hollis Taggart is opening up an exhibition space in Connecticut and is celebrating with a show called Look Again, a survey of contemporary painting. In true group show fashion, it is extremely wide ranging and there are precious few things tying these collected works together.

I'm going to pull a couple of pieces from that show that I find interesting to share with you here. If we were talking about putting together a lesson based on these paintings, this is a pretty good group of works to talk about, because there are many interesting compositional decisions being made, as well as some good texture and color choices.
Leah Guadagnoli, Night Swim, 2020
Acrylic, canvas, burlap, insulation board, upholstery foam, and aluminum panel
Dana James, Roadtripping, 2019
Oil and pigment on canvas, 46 x 32 inches
André Hemer, An Image Cast by the Sun #22, 2019
Acrylic and pigment on canvas
Finally, I want to share with you the work of Filipino artist Pacita Abad, who was known for her bright and vivid paintings and collages. A couple of days ago Abad was the featured "Google Doodle" of the day.

In 1984, and Abad, living in the Phillipines, had just been recognized for her accomplishments in the arts. This sounds uncontroversial before you realize that she was one of the recipients of the Filipino government's "Ten Outstanding Young Men Awards". As you can imagine, these were not regularly given to women. In fact, they never were, until Abad received one.
Abad had a style almost as wide ranging as the group show linked to above. She worked with paint, but also with collage, mixed media, and fabric. The subjects she chose to represent were equally wide ranging, moving between portraiture, social realism, and abstraction.
When Abad was studying at the Corcoran school of art in Washington D.C., she felt extremely self-conscious about her supposedly naive approach to painting.

Her instructor, Blaine Larsen, said that "we can teach Pacita a lot about figuration, composition and perspective, but let me tell you I would die to have her colors. You can not teach someone color; either you have it, or you don't."
Personally, I want to object to that quote a little bit. It's my job to teach you about colors. I want to keep working, Blaine, please.

But I will agree that some people have a natural affinity for color mixing and palette creation. For Abad, she certainly had the bravery to always go for the boldest color combinations. 
So there you have it folks. A bit random this week (I write that every week) but I'm always looking to provide a little something of interest to everyone. This week we viewed some cutting edge contemporary works and some a little more vintage.

If you love the explosion of color on every Abad canvas, let me know. If you prefer the subtler, quieter colors of Mary Judge, I want to hear about that too. And keep thinking about the color palettes you might create while walking around your neighborhood.

That brings us to the links:
One Eye Mickey, Charcoal drawing by Joyce Pensato
The gallery Empirical Nonsense has begun a 365-day artist project, where each day they will share a new artist feature. Although they aren't abstract (and therefore, are they acceptable for this newsletter?) I enjoyed these drawings by Ethan Shoshan.

5 simple habits to get your creative juices flowing: this article takes you through the steps of how to fight off creative burnout. This expert talks about the meditation called "mono-tasking, which is when you turn a mundane task—like brushing your teeth or washing the dishes—into a grounding, intentional ritual." My high school art teacher would talk about how he would use the time spent gessoing his canvas as a brief period of meditation, to get himself into the painting mindset.

Three art gallery shows to see right now from the NY Times. You can see the work of previous newsletter feature Nasreen Mohammedi by clicking here and looking at photographs of her work from Talwar Gallery. The Times writes that "Galleries and museums are getting creative about presenting work online during the pandemic" but you won't find any of that in the galleries listed here. Unfortunately, Talwar chose to photograph the work from far away with dark mood lighting.

I greatly enjoyed this piece of writing comparing the young Chinese painter Sun Yitian to the late artist Joyce Pensato. Pensato is an interesting figure that I'm sure you will have strong feelings about either one way or another. Pensato took the look and feel of Abstract Expressionism and combined it together with the content of Pop Art -- cartoon figures like Mickey Mouse (pictured above) became her subject matter. What this work means and how this legacy is carried forth is an interesting topic.
And now, here is your weekly reminder that this newsletter is free but not cheap. 
Chip in a few $$
I've been spending more and more hours each week researching and writing about new artists for me and you to lovingly gaze at. So if you can chip in a few dollars, I would very much appreciate it. 
And so we reach the end of another Tuesday Night letter. I have been listening to this group of albums recently. I really like how moody they all art and the storytelling that goes along with them. Hope you enjoy!

Jerkcurb - Air Con Eden
Jerkcurb - Night on Earth

JARV IS... - House Music All Night Long
JARV IS... - Must I Evolve?

Metronomy - The Light
Metronomy - Walking in the Dark

See you next time!
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