Feldman composes striking images by employing a limited number of pictorial elements on the surface of her paintings. Simple yet acute gestures coupled with basic formal devices dovetail to create images that have a strong visual impact on the viewer. Feldman seeks a visual clarity that is at once profound and undercut by humor.
This exhibition is comprised of four large-sized paintings rendered in light and dark variations of gray. In their grand scale, the forms engulf the viewer: painting flirts with sculpture, entering the viewer’s physical space. Feldman’s work is also about picture making, as cartooned abstractions materialize on the surface and the integrity of the edge is questioned and repurposed. In her paintings, Feldman’s soft and drippy gray lines masquerade as hard edges, creating shapes and signs that melt in and out of legibility. Figure/ground relationships are complicated, as dark selects light and vice versa.
Feldman’s application of paint to surface appears quick and direct—blunt but considered. There is an inherent anxiety in her paintings that complements and contradicts the ease with which her tough yet sensitive forms appear to be created.
Her punctuated, icon-like abstractions are derived from her drawing practice, and the same seemingly casual attitude is translated from drawing to painting. The images in her drawings, practiced and rehearsed many times over, are studied provocations, decisive and spontaneous—fortuitous indicators for her paintings. Feldman reaches a desired balance in her work. Awkward yet poised, her paintings evoke a toxic-classicism, stunning with their purity and imperfection.
Stephen Westfall writes in his essay “Tough Love”, completed for Feldman’s catalogue produced for this exhibition:
There’s a visual hit to our first encounter with an Amy Feldman painting, or better, a group of them. They telegraph their overall image structures across space like bold signage. Greenberg would have approved. Or, who knows? He might have found their traceries of the grotesque a bit icky: ok for Pollock, Louis, and Frankenthaler, maybe, but Feldman may just be a bit too cartoonal. For Greenberg, that meant Pop, “easy stuff” in his mind. But Feldman’s stretched and pulled geometries hint at a darkness that her stark and high contrast figure/ground relationships don’t dispel…her paintings know a lot, they have a lot of languages in them, and they let us know what they know with startling economy of means and a necessary theatrical grandeur.
Feldman, b. 1981, lives and works in New York City. Recent exhibitions include HOT PAINT, Weekend Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Ode Owe Owe: Amy Feldman and Ilse Murdock, The Good Children Gallery, New Orleans, LA; Considering the Provisional, JFORD Gallery, Philadelphia, PA; MsBehavior, The ArtBridge Drawing Room, New York, NY; Paper A-Z, Sue Scott Gallery, New York, NY; The Collective Show, Participant, Inc., New York, NY. Upcoming exhibitions will include Noyes Museum of Art, Stockton, NJ; The Fosdick-Nelson Gallery at Alfred University, Alfred, NY; LVL3 Gallery, Chicago, IL; and AnnaElle Gallery, Stockholm, Sweden. Feldman received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA from Rutgers University. She has been a visiting artist and critic at Lehman College and Wave Hill, and was an artist-in-residence and Visiting Faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University. Feldman was selected as the Robert Motherwell Fellow at The MacDowell Colony for 2011-2012. She was awarded a New Jersey State Council on the Arts Grant and has also received fellowships from VCUArts and the Fountainhead Foundation, The Henry Street Settlement at the Abrons Art Center, Yaddo, the Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Her work has been featured in the Brooklyn Rail, Hyperallergic, NY Arts Magazine, Vice Magazine, The Art Economist,Saatchi Online Magazine, and the Huffington Post.