Sargent’s Daughters is pleased to present Painting 101 , a group exhibition of paintings by Francesca DiMattio, Dennis Hollingsworth, Jonathan Lasker, Daniel Rios Rodriguez and Sandi Slone.
There are few other mediums as often dismissed, lauded, killed, resurrected, sought-after and rejected as painting. A force within painting has a hold over the viewer as well as the artist and, despite increasingly sophisticated technology that allows us to reproduce works in hard copy and digital formats, we still have the greatest communication with the painting when present before it.
Painting is that pleasant, innocent amusement. But ‘tis more; ‘tis of great use, as being one of the means whereby we convey our ideas to each other, and which in some respects has the advantage of all the rest. And thus it must be ranked with these, and accordingly esteemed not only as an enjoyment, but as another language, which completes the whole art of communicating our thoughts; one of those particulars which raises the dignity of human nature so much above the brutes; and which is the more considerable, as being a gift bestowed but upon a few even of our own species.
-An Essay on the Theory of Painting, Jonathan Richardson, 1715
Richardson equated painting with language and credits it as a means to convey thoughts-- even as “of great use”. Richardson had not imagined paintings as we now know them, but his words still ring true. The five artists in Painting 101 speak in paint and communicate with brushstroke, color, collage and layer. Francesca DiMattio’s large scale panels, on view for the first time in New York City after they debuted at Boston’s ICA, sweep and dive through territory both alien and everyday. Intricately rendered scenes of ships and flowers draw us in, while pixelated forms of birds and chairs appear both flat and familiar. The bold colors and viscous forms of Dennis Hollingsworth have a boldly sweet appearance, but are tampered by spiky barbs of paint protruding like malevolent anemones. Hollingsworth’s obvious enjoyment of the paint itself ties to the spare idiom of Jonathan Lasker, whose tightly wound forms and geometry are complimented by his exuberant use of paint itself: the medium releases the meaning. In his delivery, two skulls tic-tac-toe their way across an abstract field, suspended in the ether. Daniel Rios Rodriguez floats between a symbol and cipher- his intimate painting of a sky, collaged, thick with impasto and hazily rendered, have bright, childish pinprick stars that hover by a crudely drawn cloud. These shapes drifting in space are akin to Sandi Slone’s hovering forms, where muscular swaths of colors layer and build, one edge peeking out before ducking beneath another. No one element in her painting weighs heavier than another- each has a balance of its own.
The connection to the surface is as bound by material as it is method: each painter approaches the paint as they would words- full of meaning and building towards something complete.