Thursday, October 20, 2016

Lois Dodd: Endless Summer

“Magenta Touch-Me-Not,” oil on linen, 2007

Looking at Lois Dodd's paintings it is easy to say that we all have a little Lois Dodd in us. I know I do. Call it morning sun. Call it The Sound of Music. Call it warm, green grass under bare feet, or call it a fresh breeze playing mischief with curtains and kites and skirts, or call it happy days. At 89, Lois Dodd has painted that forever, a sweet and gentle world at the end of a country road.

Lois Dodd, “Self-Portait in Green Window” (1971),
 oil on linen, 53 1/2 x 36 inches

Wouldn't it be nice. When we want that, need that, we have her work. It is a little like Giorgio Morandi. Through World Wars and revolutions we got still-lifes of jars and bottles and glasses, maybe some flowers, maybe a shift in palette. Something that didn't change in a changing world.

Lois Dodd, Red Shirt and Window, 2013, oil on panel, 15 3/4 x 16 inches

The same could be said of Lois Dodd. Through Elvis, the 60s, the Vietnam War, the Sexual Revolution, bellbottoms, New Wave, Mr Gorbachev tear down this wall, personal computers, 911, the Iraq war and so on, she has stayed the course. Plein air painting. It is actually a steel-eyed vision in the face of all that. Negativity is easy; she has a positive mission. A fierce choice. Lois Dodd is far from naive; she may paint in Maine, but she lives in New York City.

Lois Dodd, “Cows and Clouds” (1961),
 oil on linen, 33 1/2 x 39 1/2 inches

Some people could find this unwavering constancy of her work unnerving, even disturbing. Others might find it comforting. Her work really begs the question, but it is not a fair one.

White Catastrophe, (1980)

An artist is free. Free to follow their own path. See what they want to see. Celebrate what they want to celebrate. Share what they want to share. The world, art world or otherwise, can make of it what they will. Take it or leave it. They are free too.

Red Poppies and House, 2004

Lois Dodd gifts us a world we cannot sustain. A world where we cannot help ourselves. We want more. We need more. We are driven and distracted and scheduled and worried and afraid. She gives us simpler times. Simpler pleasures. Still but fleeting moments. Stilled. Care free moments where we can catch our breath. Feel our breath. Smile. Forget. Lose ourselves in sunshine. Trust in sunshine. Trust that life is good.

Lois Dodd, "Cow Parsnip in Bud," 2011.
 Oil on masonite. 20 1/8" × 13". 

Addison Parks
Artdeal Magazine
Spring Hill, October 2016

Lois Dodd: Windows and Reflections 
List Gallery at Swarthmore College
November 3 - December 15, 2016

Lois Dodd is the 2016 Donald Jay Gordon Visiting Artist. Featuring a variety of paintings made between 1968 and 2007, this exhibition reflects Dodd’s life-long fascination with windows and similar structures that focus attention and kindle new ways of seeing. Lois Dodd: Windows and Reflections will be accompanied by a color catalog with an essay by Barry Schwabsky.

Lois Dodd was born in Montclair, New Jersey in 1927. From 1945-1948 she attended The Cooper Union in New York. In 1952 she was one of five artists to establish the Tanager Gallery, where she exhibited until 1962. From 1971 to 1992, Dodd taught at Brooklyn College, and has, since 1980, served on the Board of Governors of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She is an elected member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and National Academy of Design. 

She is represented by the Alexandre Gallery in NYC. Her next show will open Jan. 7, thru Feb. 25,'17

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Sachiko Akiyama at Matter and Light

Sachiko AkiyamaBetween Dream and Memory, 2004
 wood, paint, steel, resin, 20 x 19 x 64 inches

Sachiko Akiyama: Between Here and There

Sculpture and Paintings Curated by Nina Nielsen and John Baker

There is a stillness to Sachiko Akiyama's work that is also the pebble in the pond. Its quiet energy radiates outwards. It is powerful and passive at once. It is accessible and inaccessible at once. We are left to prowl or scale or contemplate its exterior. Its interior is another matter. The eye of the needle. The razor's edge. The puzzle box. The work is curious. We can only guess at what is before us. While this is the nature of most art, Sachiko Akiyama has managed to elevate the experience to a fine level that teeters up and down the spine of tension.

Sachiko AkiyamaWinter's Night, 2016,
 wood, paint, steel, resin, 26 x 13 x 68 inches

Her sculptures push out from inside their shells, like eggs that are about to hatch. Again, we can only marvel at the smooth beautifully carved and colored wooden figures. What stirs inside is anybody's guess, which is of course the pleasure of it. The narratives bound up in each piece, a held bird, a forest carried on a back, a sleeping form, tell the story of the artist and nature. It is a uniquely sad and calm and determined story of one. A broken-hearted one. One for all.

Sachiko AkiyamaI Remember What I Did Not See, 2010
 wood, paint,  59 x 29 x 15 inches

Sachiko Akiyama is indeed a storyteller, and her sculptures cast a spell over us. A spell that like a net brings us into her magic tent. We are easily taken into her starry skies, her lapping waves, and calls in the night. Shooting stars abound. She brings us peace and goodwill. She brings us stillness. She brings us back to our senses and ourselves.

Sachiko AkiyamaBetween Here and There, 2016
polychromed wood, paint,  10.5 x 7 x 11.5 inches
In collaboration with painter Rick Fox

Addison Parks
Artdeal Magazine

Spring Hill, October, 2016

Sachiko AkiyamaThe Blue of Distance, 2016
 wood, paint, steel,  33 x 11 x 68 inches

Sachiko AkiyamaIn the Forest of Ghosts, 2016
 wood, paint, paper, mixed media, 10.5 x 10 x 23.5 inches

Sachiko AkiyamaUntitled, 2016, acrylic
 two framed drawings, 6 x 5 & 9 x 6 inches

Sachiko AkiyamaUntitled, 2016, ink on paper

Sachiko AkiyamaUntitled--Mountain Collage,
 2016, wood, paper,  paint, acrylic, resin

Sachiko Akiyama: Between Here and There
September 16 - October 31, 2016


Matter and Light Fine Art
63 Thayer St, Boston, MA 02118
Phone: (857) 990-3931

Monday, October 10, 2016

Artist Notes: The Thomas Berding Memorandum

The Berding Memorandum

I feel there is much work to be made by digging deeper — Thomas Berding, 2016

Oakland University Art Gallery/ Catalog Essay by Dick Goody, October 2016

Since the 1980s, the most challenging aspect of contemporary abstract painting has been to make something that we never anticipated seeing before, which does not resemble another’s visual abstract language. Thomas Berding’s uniquely distinct paintings overcome this challenge with brio and inventiveness. The lightness of being in his work, the range of forms, contours, edges, saturations and coloring – and the lightness of the spaces in between his network of slashes, swatches, and other painterly exchanges is so navigable for the eye that the paintings are airy, permeable, and most signi cantly – in enigmatic semiotic terms – written in a language that is all his own.

The thick rulebook from which Berding operates is epistemological, involves diligent archeological excavation, and requires an authoritative, objective approach to the development of the elegant embroidery of his formalistic language. If the approach is objective and studious, the piquancy and experimentation of the invention is subjective. The results of this meticulous, process-based methodology, blended with its novel content, are embodied in the poised virtuosity of his paintings. We perceive an elastic membrane of painterly activity, which resembles the nite metaphors one might need to invent to begin to describe something as inscrutable as visualization of what string theory might look like. The paintings intrigue because their spatial sophistication is a foil for their apparent casual informality. They poke the viewer, they goad, and they ply their trade – and they are not above pulling the odd sardonic leg. Yet they immediately bristle to attention and we are overtaken by their proximity and propriety, as if we could only ever expect to witness their playfulness – far away from the corner of an eye, or embedded in a blink – because full-on, they snap to their margins with all the wisdom of a mandarin enacting an audacious closing move.

The manual is thick and heavy, yet the paintings possess a sense of urbane buoyancy. The Berding backstory is a lifelong enterprise of labor, diligence, and accrued evidence. And on this particular journey, there were years of layered accumulation, seasons of ideas and paint pressed down like carbon forming into anthracite. Over the last 15 years, the artist has developed a taxonomic sensitivity to what constitutes expedient form and signi cance. The Berding Memorandum was never the rulebook; it is the implicitness of all the stratum of form, ideology and meaning encapsulated, woven and made sentient in the gravitas of his paintings.

Oakland University Art Gallery | 208 Wilson Hall | Rochester, MI 48309

The Berding Memorandum

October 15 - November 20, 2016

Opening Reception: Saturday, October 15 6PM

Curated by: Dick Goody

“… the paintings do aim to create a new image in the world where one might feel at least in some manner that they are navigating something for the first time.”
Thomas Berding, July 2016

The most challenging aspect of contemporary abstract painting is to make something that we never anticipated seeing before. Thomas Berding’s uniquely distinct paintings overcome this challenge with brio and inventiveness. The lightness of being in his work, the range of forms, contours, edges, saturations and coloring – and the lightness of the spaces in between his network of slashes, swatches, and other painterly exchanges, is so navigable for the eye that the paintings are airy, permeable, and most significantly, written in a language that is all his own. And he has developed a taxonomic sensitivity to what constitutes expedient form and significance. The Berding Memorandum – the ideology and meaning in his work – is made sentient in the gravitas of his paintings.

Thomas Berding was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and received a Bachelor of Arts from Xavier University and a Master of Fine Arts from Rhode Island School of Design. Berding’s paintings have been recognized with awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Pollock-Krasner Foundation, and NEA/Mid America Arts Alliance. His work has been the subject of recent solo exhibitions at the University of Maine Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame, and The Painting Center in New York. Over his career, he has exhibited his work at many venues, including the David Klein Gallery, Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Nelson-Atkins Museum, Rochester Institute of Technology, Indiana University, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Savannah College of Art and Design, and Rhode Island School of Design Museum, among many others. Thomas Berding currently lives and works in East Lansing, Michigan, where he is Professor of Studio Art at Michigan State University.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Louise Fishman: Smart Paint

Oil on linen

Louise Fishman paints planes in space with a rough hand that really become something else. Elegiac. Fierce. A rough elegance.

Beneath all of that are miles of nuance. Miles of contemplation. Miles of poetry in paint. Louise Fishman has always been about collateral paint. Collateral expression. The things that happen while you are painting. The ghosts in the paint.

Oil on linen

Whatever Louise Fishman has ever painted consciously has always opened a portal to something else. Some place else. Some place where words always fail. Aren't those the places that really matter. Love, death. No one knows what to say. Painting finds a way however. And Louise Fishman paints those paintings. Maybe better than anyone else.

Louise Fishman delivers what Franz Kline promised. More and more the boldness of what he started has given way to a thousand inflections of gray and color where other worlds flourish.

It is not just that Fishman has taken up where Kline stopped, that would be a gross understatement. It is like when you get to the beach or out on the ocean and can really see the night sky. It is no longer the Big Dipper, it is clouds of constellations swirling around in the heavens. She takes us there.

Oil on canvas
66 x 57 in

How? That is the thing. There are no real answers. Something else. How much time have you got? Her paintings can take all day. And more. No rush.

Addison Parks
Artdeal Magazine
Spring Hill, October 2016

Oil on linen
70 x 88 in

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Judy Glantzman: The Eye of the Storm

Judy Glantzman

You would have to say that Judy Glantzman has always liked people. It shows. They are what she paints. Always. All the way back to the middle 70s at RISD. Is it any surprise that she is the nicest person in the art world. She always has a smile.

Judy Glantzman, Untitled, 1999, Oil on canvas  
90" x 80" 

But what happens in her paintings is different. In them we get everything else. It makes her work layered and complicated and wide and deep. The word root comes to mind.

                   Judy Glantzman, Sarah, 2009, oil on canvas, 8 x 8 inches

The people she paints seem to come from the old country. Her loose abstract way of zeroing in on her subjects takes us down or back to their roots. It is a rather startling experience that has always been in her paintings. Like her smile, it is her gift, and between the two is a chasm.

I gave up trying to reconcile Judy and her work a long time ago. I very quickly learned to like the difference, and trust the difference, even if I was always taken aback or confused by it. Something about her steady and centered presence, her lung capacity, has always allowed her to go that much deeper and to places unknown. She likes to look. I like to look. But Judy has a kind and unwavering and penetrating and dreamy gaze. It is what brings her and her paintings together. We would not get one without the other.

Judy Glantzman, Jojo's Pink

The calmness of Judy Glantzman allows her to court chaos. She is the eye of the storm. The marks and experience of the work swirl around her. Her searing, dare I say haunting, vision cuts down to the bone. Her portraits are fiercely surgical in this regard. A companion to the likes of Soutine, Giacometti, Bacon and Kahlo. She peels away skin and tissue and ligament to find not just what is at the bottom but whatever paths lead elsewhere. And she takes us there. By the hand. In an entirely unspoken way, where words fail us, as though in a dream.

Judy Glantzman | Shakespeare's Pirate, 2011
gesso, acrylic, walnut ink, india ink, chalk, sharpie,
 and graphite on paper, 91.25 x 60 inches

And yet there is this thing. Or three things. Paint, portrait, rectangle. In other words, she works within an art tradition that goes back past de Kooning and Turner and Velasquez and da Vinci. Her subject is as old as cave paintings: us. She works within the constrained confines of the post and beam, window, box, frame. And yet! She finds something worth painting, worth contemplating, worth reshuffling the deck for, worth a seat at art's table, worth a place at the front of the line. Perhaps it comes from that gleam in her eye, a certain whimsy, maybe even mischief in regard to that aforementioned art tradition. Indeed, she keeps breaking the mold and starting afresh, and she takes us along for our own edification. How remarkable is that!

THE RIDE, 2008
Oil on canvas
40 1/4 x 58 in.

In a contemporary avant garde art world where the fashion&design aesthetic rules, and the restrictions and tyranny of the picture plane and the use of gooey pigments makes painting quaint at best, and tiresome and irrelevant at worst, Judy Glantzman has found a way to keep blazing her way to make painting not just matter, but get under our skin.

Oil on canvas
88 1/4 x 77 inches

Is it also worth noting that what ultimately guides her is not the invention of form at all. No, it is her vision that informs the paint. There have been people who have suggested that van Gogh only painted the way he did because of some visual impairment. He saw like his paintings. I don't know. I never liked that because it seemed to rob him of his genius. But with Judy Glantzman, it is rather her genius that the way she paints is the direct result of how she sees, and her capacity to see. To dress us and herself down, to strip us down, to get at what is underneath, in the nicest way possible.

Untitled, Judy Glantzman, 1994, painting

Judy Glantzman

Addison Parks
Artdeal Magazine
Spring Hill, October 2016

Judy Glantzman is represented by the Betty Cuningham Gallery in New York City.

Saturday, September 10, 2016


EARLY BRIGHT2016, oil on panel, 36 x 36 inches
courtesy Alexandre Gallery

Gregory Amenoff's paintings betray his sensitive side. Narratives of light and mysticism saturate his works with a kind of fairy dust and elvish magic. Abstract landscapes safe from prying eyes and Google Maps.

CLEARING (FOR JB)2016, oil on canvas, 72 x 62 inches*
courtesy Alexandre Gallery

They are a noble quest, a torch taken up from the likes of the Arthur Doves of this world, along with his Stieglitz pals Georgia O'Keeffe, Marsden Hartley, and Alfred Maurer. A mineral, vegetable, but less animal space at once intimate and infinite. A place discovered with paint and brush and knife hacked through forests and over tall mountains. The painting in the painting. Not the gratuitous slapdash of pigments on canvas, but marks and colors that mean something, shape something, define and reveal something. Painting that comes from search and exploration. Other worlds. Remote and distant lands. We come upon his paintings with the same surprise and excitement that he does. We become breathless at the sight of them.

 GROTTE2016, oil on canvas, 36 x 36 inches
courtesy Alexandre Gallery

And these are places of great power and light, and maybe above all, healing. For him, and for us. Dr Amenoff. Yes. The great and powerful Amenoff. Delivering paintings to the world.

DREAMER (FOR GG)2016, oil on panel, 36 x 36 inches
courtesy Alexandre Gallery

Each painting becomes a diorama of sorts. Open them up and let the show begin. A music box. Wind it up and hear its music. Painting can do this. Painters like Amenoff believe. Otherwise what is the point? This is his gift to the world.

MOUNTAINS AND GARDEN2014-2015, oil on canvas, 18 x 18 inches
courtesy Alexandre Gallery

When people throw around the term spirituality when talking about art they are playing with fire, whether they know it or not. Spirituality is about light, yes, but more importantly it is about healing and grace. Grace and healing. In a world where darkness is all around us and the light of the world is dimming, Amenoff finds and passes on the bright light of hope in his paintings. This is the torch from Dove. Is there alchemy there? Yes, paint into paintings that become something powerful for good.

BEGINNINGS,  96" x 84", 1984, Oil on Canvas
courtesy Albright Knox Museum

Just over thirty-five years ago(c.1979), I was a young painter and art writer sitting in the art dealer Robert Miller's sunny office high over Fifth Avenue just off 57th Street, and he wanted me to hang on and look at some paintings by a young Boston artist that he was just getting in. Miller lined two or three large, thickly painted, heavily worked, very muscular, churning, branchy, boney, leafy, big bodied abstractions against the wall and asked me what I thought. Flecks of color and light kicking up out of a darkened forest of brave paint. I was impressed. This was the work of Gregory Amenoff. There was a new painter in town.

“Tramontone”, oil on canvas, Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In those paintings Amenoff offered a bold, dynamic, dramatic and energetic vision of great fire. He took the art world by storm. In the years that followed those heady days of the 1980s, however, the art world has cooled considerably. Painting is not what it once was.


Think of this new work in the big picture and over the long haul. Think of each of these paintings like a bed of hot coals, a bed of hot coals that burns long and bright and can start a blaze the whole world over. This is Amenoff's gamble.  He has recalculated, he has reloaded. He is older and wiser. These later paintings have a whimsy, a tenderness, a dreamscape cultivated and softened and made finer by years of experience and contemplation and musing, of pain and joy and compassion. What spilled wildly from him in his youth is now considered a hundred-fold with each stroke, each breath, each test, each hard lesson learned, each yes or no.

PINK MOON2015-2016, oil on canvas, 44 x 64 inches
courtesy Alexandre Gallery

There are a couple of small paintings here. Mountains and Garden, 18 x 18 inches. Grotto IV, 11 x 14 inches.  Amenoff knows what a good small painting can do. Maybe he learned this from Dove. Small is relative of course, but 36 x 36 inches, like DreamerGrotto, and Early Bright, seem like what we might call small these days, especially by Amenoff standards. Probably somewhere in between. Tweeners. Big enough to be full screen for the viewer from 3 feet out. Can also be read well from across the room, but still has that intimate feeling in that it draws the viewer in.


This is one of those unspoken experiences in painting; does it make you stand back or make you step in? It is a painting thing. Amenoff has faith in all of those painting things, when all around him people are losing their heads that painting is dead. Again.  He has devoted his life blood to this notion that painting not only matters, but that painting makes a difference, that painting brings us light and hope and grace and courage and fire and so on.

TOWER FOR STRINDBERG2016, oil on canvas, 36 x 36 inches
courtesy Alexandre Gallery

So when you're beaten down from that Netflix binge and have put aside your iPhone, or when your wifi disappears and cuts you off from the world, sidle up to an Amenoff mystical abstraction and warm yourself.

GROTTE IV (ORNANS)2016, oil on panel, 11 x 14 inches
courtesy Alexandre Gallery

Addison Parks
Spring Hill, September 10, 2016

 BOUGH2016, oil on canvas, 72 x 60 inches*
courtesy Alexandre Gallery

Reception for the artist Thursday, September 15 from 6:00 to 7:30 pm
On View September 15 – October 29, 2016

Alexandre Fine Art Inc
724 5th Avenue
4th FloorNew York, NY 10019

Catalogue available with text by Stephen Westfall