Susan Heinemann

  • Pat Steir and Joan Snyder

    Meaning. How does one assign meaning? More basically, what is meaning? Looking at Pat Steir’s and Joan Snyder’s paintings, one is continually drawn back to these questions. Not knowing, reflecting and doubting, searching for answers but never finding solutions. The paintings themselves as objects are not signifiers, for there is no signified—or, at least, no meaning one can grasp onto and say yes, this is it. One does not read these works following a linear syntax. Instead one jerks from one point to another, starting and stopping, leaping off and going back, never arriving at definition. It is

  • Joan Thorne

    In a different way, Joan Thorne is also concerned with locating the inner self in or on the world. Like Snyder she feels her way through varying strokes and densities of paint. However, Thorne’s activity is more frenzied, building to a definitive climax. Liquid paint drags and scrapes across the surface, colors jangle or muddle, areas fill to suffocation, fingerlike squiggles pulsate in and out from and to the edges. The whole is more a map than exploratory journal. The personal language has already been evolved. It is not the marks themselves that are in question, but their location. What one

  • Bill McGee

    Although Thorne’s pictorial language is given to the extent one does not speculate on why she chose her marks, it is not a priori. Her words, as well as grammar, are formulated in the course of painting in response to her activity. In contrast, Bill McGee’s vocabulary and rules of structure seem to be learned instead of found. His narrow vertical stripes on color fields inevitably invoke Barnett Newman, and it is to Newman that one refers again and again. One has seen all these paintings before. There are no discoveries, no changes in the language to make one pause and reconsider one’s grounds

  • Julian Casado

    The line between invention and imitation is not always so clearly drawn as in McGee’s work. In Julian Casado’s gouaches the vocabulary of subtly gradated color and geometric forms is familiar. It is the structuring which encompasses a personal sensibility, while at the same time adhering to known rules of picture-making. Casado first covers his surface with a network of parallel lines, changing in direction to establish an underlying geometric pattern. The narrow bands between the lines are then filled in with carefully modulated hues which articulate the interior space. Most of the paintings

  • Sylvia Sleigh

    With Sylvia Sleigh, language becomes a game, a punning on the clichés of convention. Her awkward drawing, her self-consciously posed compositions, her horror vacui are by now typically Mannerist devices for subverting tradition while remaining safely inside it. But Sleigh’s toying with established figure painting techniques is less interesting than her inversions of accepted subject matter. In October it is the languorously reclining man with his flowing mane of hair who entices one, not the woman rigidified and upright in her pinstriped dress. While Botticelli is the direct compositional mentor

  • Will Insley

    That the formalist approach has tended to obscure the visionary role of the artist is a point of contention with Will Insley. Explicitly rejecting the surface values of pure color, form, line—“art for the sake of art,” Insley seeks to penetrate behind this “facade” to uncover a personal mythology, the inner “dream space” which is for him the content of art. Insley transmits the information gathered from his “journey” into interior space through a collection of poems, fragmented musings, diagrams, and architectural drawings compiled over the past 11 years and presented in book format. Ostensibly

  • Richard Long

    In a way, one might classify Insley as an armchair philosopher, for he seeks his being in the inner recesses of the mind, traveling into the realm of imagination. Richard Long, on the other hand, finds his content in active dialogue with nature, mapping out his personal space in terms of the landscape. If one senses a romantic primitivism in Long’s involvement with the earth, it is not the idealist mysticism of Insley’s vision. No, Long’s searching is a marking out on this world and is, thus, contingent on the physicality of his existence. His art is a personal record of his contact with the

  • Brenda Miller

    Like Morris, Brenda Miller connects her cognitive idea with its physical realization. Her four grids, drawn on the wall in light blue pencil, are filled in with stenciled letters in ordered sequence. Each grid is a 52 x 52 unit square, allowing, for example, the stamping of two complete sets of the alphabet from A to Z and Z to A in the horizontal rows and the consequent repetition of single letters in each vertical column. However, this patterning is only clearly visible at the terminal A and Z points, for Miller shifts her stencil and reprints on top of the original structure in successive

  • Michael Vessa

    In describing the process of perception, reading is frequently used as a metaphor for seeing. Expanding this analogy, Michael Vessa makes books the subject of his drawings and sculpture. Several pieces are actual notebooks opened up and attached to the wall. That the pages are lined, numbered and often captioned “Read and Understood” at the bottom stresses how in reading one proceeds with the knowledge gained from the first page to the next. Vessa relates this memory process to seeing by suggesting that visually one connects the marks on separate pages in a sequential absorption of information.

  • Paul Brach

    In contrast to Vessa, Paul Brach stresses the optical rather than the conceptual aspects of seeing in his paintings. His information is on the surface, to be assimilated by the eye instead of interpreted by the mind. Using the pointillist technique of optical mixture, Brach creates flickering bands of color-light from tiny dabs of color. For instance, in Horizon No. 3 the canvas is covered with horizontal rows of blue gray diagonal brushstrokes. Near the bottom of the painting there is a band of loosely spaced dots of light red purple and unsaturated orange lying on top of the gray. The effect

  • Alvin Loving

    Although the formal precedent for Al Loving’s new pieces seems to be Stella, there is a sense of energy and playfulness to his large painted cardboard and paper constructions which recalls Matisse’s late cutout collages. Loving piles up ragged shapes and festive colors into a chaotic conglomeration which visually recreates the additive process of its making. One’s eye, flicking from one area to another, joins in the fun of putting the pieces of a puzzle together. Loving’s constructive method, his selection of scattered bits of information which combine into a whole, repeats and thereby highlights

  • Barbara Coleman and Galeyn Remington

    It is Loving’s sense of joie de vivre which determines the impact of his pieces. What I mean is perhaps clarified by examining the works of Barbara Coleman and Galeyn Remington, who also stress painting’s materiality. Coleman concentrates on the thereness of the paint itself. Her thick tubular oozes of plastic paint become relief shapes which highlight the textural three-dimensionality of paint. Color serves a decorative function subordinate to the physical presence of its substance. Remington, on the other hand, asserts the objecthood of the support with her rolling and overlapping surfaces of