Molly Zuckerman-Hartung: Interview

Molly Zuckerman-Hartung, Calif., 2013, oil, bleach, and latex on stained, folded
Molly Zuckerman-Hartung, Calif., 2013, oil, bleach, and latex on stained, folded, and sewn linen, 84 x 60 inches (courtesy of Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Kevin Blake interviews painter Molly Zuckerman-Hartung whose exhibition Violet Fogs Azure Snot at Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago, on view through March 15, 2014. Zuckerman-Hartung's work is also on view at the 2014 Whitney Biennial through May 5.

Zuckerman-Hartung comments "I think the crisis for me is the flatness of the surface of the painting. With these paintings [at Corbett vs. Dempsey], I am finding ways to make the painting sculptural, to introduce space, but I don’t want to do that with illusionistic depth. Instead, I am thinking about the spaces between the paintings, the way they respond to one another across the room, and the differing historical references as producing space. So Matisse with the blue one, Malevich with the smaller black painting, Barnett Newman in the painting with three broad vertical bands. The paintings made up of tick marks are actually made as continuous lines, while folded. Then, when unfolded, the effect is that of small marks. This would be another moment of crisis in the show. I think of that kind of painting – methodical mark-making, as a form of transparency in painting – each mark is made in time, and the viewer is able to follow the mark making of the maker in turn. As with, for example, Hanne Darboven, Michelle Grabner or Agnes Martin. In my paintings, the mark is not transparent. The folds, unfolded, produce a kind of schism in the communication, the 'reading' of the painting. How I made the marks is not the same as how you read the marks. There is a breakdown in that kind of direct, frontal address. This produces, I think, a kind of space."