Source in Nature

Brice Marden. Study for the Muses Hydra Version 1991–95

“For Marden, despite the similarities in his drawing and painting, drawing is about the first experience. In a recent interview he said: “A painting is about refinement of image. . . . Drawing is more fugitive. It’s like little scribbles. . . . These [drawings] are not pictures of specific places or things . . . they’re about particular places and inspirations. . . . For me, drawing is about the state that the person would be in who’s standing in the drawing looking at the mountain, it’s about sensing that. I find that interesting about the Chinese . . . paintings and drawings evolved in a kind of inspired state. . . . There’s usually somebody in the picture undergoing some sort of experience, or on a pilgrimage towards an experience. They depict it, I’m depicting it in another way.”
“He manipulates both the inherited and imposed grids, bringing them together. The grid is not about the language, nor is it about writing or trying to make a language; rather, Marden returns the grid to calligraphy and calligraphy constantly to its source in nature, and round about again, in a constant discourse between nature and culture. For Marden, “If the form is resolved, it’s beautiful. . . . Maybe beauty is too easy. It doesn’t deal with . . . political issues or social issues. But an issue that it does deal with is harmony.”” [Barbara Rose on Drawing]

Chris Martin Installation at Anton Kern 2018

“When I was a young painter, there was a severe orthodoxy about painting, about what one could and could not do. It was very hard to find any room in that world. To be new or on the track it was about minimalism. I made very severe paintings in the 1970s. In the 1980s, things broke apart, and people like Schnabel and Sigmar Polke, who is a hero of mine, opened up great worlds.
“Initially, it was only in my drawings that I let myself explore different things. I have a huge amount of work on paper. On paper you are not so worried if it’s good enough. Friends would say my drawings were ahead of my paintings. I came to see that they had more action and energy. I gradually let myself treat paintings the way I treated drawings. One way to do that was to start a lot more paintings.” [Chris Martin in Conversation With Jennifer Samet]

Amy Sillman SK42 2017

“I started thinking, “What if I draw first and print over it?” So I made silk screens of my drawings. I could add a drawing that was made with a machine or digitally to a drawing that was made by hand. What I love is that you can’t tell how they’re made. For some reason, fooling the eye really excites me. Then it got more and more baroque. I started to make these really complicated ones that were totally abstract. I just wanted to see if I could make it literally impossible for someone to tell how it was made, and what was underneath.
I’m in this process of trying to create a free space. Like an open field, where figure and ground are in very ambivalent, complex relationships. On top of that, I also wanted to see if I could try to blurt something out, or make something completely immediate, that ends up fitting perfectly. More recently, I started thinking about shape. I’ve never read a book on shape. I’ve read books on gesture; I’ve read tons of books on color, surface, field, ground, representation, abstraction. But I’ve never read a book on what a shape is. I like shapes. So I was making all of these round ones. And then I thought, “I guess they’re people.”” [Amy Sillman in conversation with Matt Mullen]

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