Peter Malone reviews Physical Painting, curated by Jennifer Samet with Scott Wolniak, at the Richard & Dolly Maas Gallery, SUNY Purchase, on view through March 18, 2016.
Malone writes: "On balance, I was left with the feeling that regardless of what material an artist chooses to work with, abstraction is likely to produce a visually compelling result only if the artist can tease from the chosen medium a visual expression that transcends the viewer's expectations of the medium used. What 'Physical Painting' demonstrates clearly is that it is no easier to get a successful painting from cement, paper, fabric or clay than it is from paint applied to a canvas. Regardless of the materials used, abstraction—the most individual of all painting's genres--demands a commitment to a vision that often seems no clearer to the artist than to a viewer. If painters can lose themselves in the act of scratching into a block of plaster, something may come of it. In the end it is the artist's judgment of the result, not the recipe, that matters most."