“… style comes down to the manipulation of elements within a multilevel system, in which the elements are read through one another. The mediation of printed matter and printing techniques, collage, copying, tracing, photographic projection, and the mass media are now taken for granted as contributing to a newly enriched technical visual language, much as traditional drawing’s mixed means of watercolor, pencil, pen and ink, wash, and collage of cut-and-pasted papers, or the mix of drawing and painting, were long taken for granted as constituting a visual language. And if the technical language is changed, it is clear, too, from the 1960s on, that not only has iconography been restored to an important position in art but that the iconography itself is different.”[Bernice Rose Allegories of Modernism Contemporary Drawing]
“Sillman’s drawings are open-ended investigations that use the straightforward materiality of form: shape, line, silhouette, cut, stain, color, tone, fragment. While this practice offers the pleasures of the formal language, she works at the same time with a psychological procedure of constant contradiction, building, destroying and rebuilding again in a restless ongoing course of action. She deploys an anxiously active set of moves against a simple immediate mark or form—something easy against something hard, something unedited and impulsive against something complicated. Sillman works until the material speaks to itself, contradicts itself, suggests something it did not know, goes against its own grain.
She paints and draws using innumerable layers, none of which the viewer sees in the final one, but which can be sensed from their active surface. As A. Ellegood suggests, figure becomes so dominant that paradoxically becomes invisible. It is the sense of presence of the shape that builds her approach towards abstraction rather than its exclusion from representation.” [Campoli Presti On Amy Sillman’s drawings]
“I like the way it [raw canvas] looks, and it feels more like drawing to me. The raw canvas looks like paper to me. Like newsprint. With a primed, gessoed canvas I feel compelled to fill the whole thing in. You lose some of the drawing… The shmutz… the accidents are important. There’s not a lot of really direct drawing in these things. [It’s] about conjuring something over time rather than having… than, you know, thinking oh I’d like to draw a pony here and then just going for it. And living with it.
I’m a pretty decent draftsman. But… there’s this sort of skill purgatory that most of us are in. I can’t draw like a child, and I can’t draw like Rembrandt. I’m in the in-between. You reach a certain skill level and then you just work with your limitations. If I just sit down and make a natural drawing it looks like something one of those guys on the boardwalk would draw. You’d be riding a skateboard with a huge head…” [Joe Bradley in conversation with Ross Simonini]
“I start playfully, according to a mood or a desire for a sensation or colour. Usually my first move will be painted over, but sometimes this first gesture is perfect and the painting is finished right there and then. Painting has a history of fooling with expectations, and in representational painting you can contemplate the moves easily: objects can be foreshortened or elongated, defying the rules of perspective; colours can be counterintuitive; visual hierarchies can be messed with. These manipulations can be aggressive, analytical or full of tenderness, but they are always obvious; they can be talked about. My moves and counter-moves are initiated by similar violations, even though it might look as if I’m breaking rules where there are none. In the end, a self-reliant new image seems to have created itself.” [Charline Von Heyl on abstraction]
“Paintings happen in the studio where I have my own kind of system, although there can be physical residue of performance in them. I like to cut up the canvas in different sections, work on them individually, fold them and just leave them around for months. I don’t work on a painting with the goal of finishing it or having a complete and finished painting at the end of a work process. The idea is to get through as much material as possible, and various materials go through various processes. In most parts there is this mark making that happens with a broomstick and oil paint. I make a bunch of those canvases, fold them in half, and put them on the floor. My studio is a cradle of dust and dirt, of pollution. I don’t tidy up at the end of each production process. It’s all very much on purpose; it’s continuous process, a machine of which I’m the catalyst. Things get moved around, I step on them, and they get contaminated. It’s not about leaving traces, it’s about letting things mature on their own—like aging cheese or letting a stew cook, they get more flavorful. That’s kind of how these paintings are made.” [Oscar Murillo in conversation with Legacy Russell]