Painting Within A Painting

Nell Blaine, Joe Brainard, Rudy Burckhardt, Jane Freilicher

Louisa Matthiasdottir, Fairfield Porter, Larry Rivers, and Trevor Winkfield

June 8 to July 26, 2024


Jane Freilicher

Studio Interior, 1982

oil on canvas

50 x 60 inches

I have been painting small paintings of wildflowers from photographs from a wildflower book. Several have turned out as fake Fairfield Porters without me even trying. And almost all of them have bits of you in them. I don’t know if other people can tell or not, but I can tell.

        Joe Brainard to Fairfield Porter, circa 1966/1967 – excerpted from a written letter

You could argue that every painting is a painting within a painting, right? The journey a painting makes from the easel to the gallery wall is full of iteration, trial and error, and practice. In Jane Freilicher’s painting, Studio Interior, 1982 we see that journey quite explicitly and joyously. Other journeys are long and relational, for instance Fairfield Porter’s dedication to the Maine Coast and other settings. Those who admired Porter, such as Joe Brainard, looked to Porter for guidance and found himself, unjustifiably, lacking. The painting canon provides fodder, bombast and competition for artists like Larry Rivers to interpret Matisse’s Dance, 1909, in a punchy riff, as three-dimensional object. Nell Blaine’s Autobiography, c. 1980 is a very personal painting, by an artist with an unusual story of physical resilience, in it she shares her influences, and significant people and places – a Cezanne postcard, an image from important trip Mykonos in 1959, a newspaper clipping of football players – within an all-encompassing still-life. In Rudy Burckhardt’s paintings you see the photographer within a painting, or the photographer’s eye for an elegant composition made in a deliberately articulate painting style. Louisa Matthiasdottir painted the same Icelandic mountain ranges, in purple, grey, and blue, dotted with sheep, horses and dogs, however she painted almost all of them in her studio in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City – a faraway icy country within a tumultuous metropolis. Trevor Winkfield’s Self-Portrait, 2001 portrays the painter, and possibly his inner life, as a hunter equipped with a paint palette and a quiver of arrows with one arrow through the artist’s own head.


Larry Rivers

Free Dance and Still Life, 1992

oil on canvas mounted on foamcore mounted on panel

78 x 84 1/2 x 5 inches


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