Phong Bui interviews painter Tal R, whose show Altstadt Girl is on view at Cheim & Read, New York, through February 14, 2015.
R comments: "What I want is to stay very close to a kind of impulse that evokes a narrative without the necessary details. This impulse for me feeds action. I develop this relationship for a while and then I have to go out again to restart it all over again. When I sit in a hotel room and I want to draw a stranger, I don’t mind when the eyes and the ears are not correct. What I care about is whether the drawing is alive, or if it can breathe. Years ago I went to the Edvard Munch museum to see his paintings, as well as seeing other works by his contemporaries in Scandinavia like Anders Leonard Zorn, Richard Bergh, Eero Järnefelt, just to name a few at the National Museum in Olso. There was such a contrast between everything they had painted, from the figure, the house in the forest, the moon to a dog and everything else, and the Munch paintings where all the details fail. But what is moving and alive in Munch’s paintings, which the others miss, is the air that breathes in and out of the images at all times. I always feel Munch kept his gun pointed all the time at the target where impulse and action are both right at the edge."