Karl Bielik and Paul Behnke
James Erikson, Karen Baumeister, Dale McNeil, and Julie Torres
My curator's statement from the exhibition catalog:
The Ability of Paint
By Paul Behnke
“Painting is feeling. There are situations, states of mind, mood which call for some form of artistic expression, because one knows that only some form of art is capable of going beyond them to give us intuitive contact with a superior set of truths.”
– Roger Hilton
When I was first approached about curating this show I had two immediate thoughts. The first was that I wanted to put together a strong exhibit including the painters I most admire. And the second was that I wanted my role to be more of an organizer rather than a curator. The term organizer implies, at least in my mind, being one of the gang both literally and philosophically.
A curator usually has a concept or “hook” for an exhibition and the works are chosen to support the curator’s thesis. If Eight Painters is about anything it’s about the unique visions of the painters included. It draws inspiration from common group shows of the 1940’s and 1950’s when the ideas of the painters took center stage rather than acting as supporting players to prop up an idea that may, or may not, fully embody the scope of the work. When placed in any other context but its own, the full power and subtleties of a painting can be diminished if the viewer is not savvy enough to see between the lines.
With this in mind, the only criteria for inclusion in Eight Painters were: an individual, rigorous vision; a certain ambition without regard for scale or a specific way of making a painting; and an abiding belief in the ability of paint - and specifically, the genre of abstraction - to best communicate the artist’s appetite and inventiveness.
The painters included here share not only a devotion to their medium, but a confidence in the value of what is not widely accessible, what cannot be image searched on a phone or a computer, nor crowd sourced. They hold the personal, the intuitive, the nuanced, and the hard-won in high regard.
Each takes care to not only reflect the culture we all experience, but to look deeper and through that commonality in pursuit of a more personal response. The viewer is left with a relic of the painter’s efforts - an arrowhead that connects, to those that are susceptible, with a quickness and directness that leaves no doubt to the painting’s intention.
Karen Baumeister and Dale McNeil
Matthew Neil Gehring
Brooke Moyse and Paul Behnke
Matthew Neil Gehring and Brooke Moyse
organized by Paul Behnke
featuring paintings by: Karen Baumeister, Paul Behnke, Karl Bielik, James Erikson, Matthew Neil Gehring, Dale McNeil, Brooke Moyse and Julie Torres
Up through February 1, 2014
529 W 20th Street
New York, NY 10011
*a full color catalog is available