Email: Meeting Alan Neider

Connecticut-based artist Alan Neider has been making art for over forty years, and for the past few we have been corresponding. Long before combining painting and sculpture became a popular strategy for painters, Neider was constructing three-dimensional objects – including lamps, chairs, curtains, and non-objective forms – to paint on.

[Image at top: Alan Neider in his Hamden, Connecticut, studio.]

Alan Neider, Orange Dress, 2013, fabric, paint, paper, mixed media, approx. 60h x 30w x 3d inches.

Neider’s large-scale paintings often droop off the wall, but the vigorous paint handling defies the abjectness of the objects themselves. Several of his paintings were included in “Industrial Comforts” at Space B upstairs from Odetta in Bushwick last fall.

Alan Neider, Purple Bag, 2014, paint, fabric, mixed media, 57h x 80w x 10d inches.

The other day I asked Neider which contemporary artists he follows. Here are his thoughtful and incisive responses.

Albert Oehlen: Seductive is the term I would use for Oehlen’s work. While I love it and see it often, I fear being too influenced by it. As a result, I look but not too hard. Although his art was prominently mentioned in Rubinstein’s “Provisional Painting” in Art in America in 2009, I find it logical and lush.

Katherine Bernhardt: I was knocked out when I first saw her work at Canada about three years ago. I am fascinated by Bernhardt’s loose, relaxed, and almost (but not quite) careless painting style. Rolls of toilet paper, cigarettes, and fruit are elevated to become the focal points of paintings.

Isabel Yellin: Her work jumped off my screen when I first encountered it on Artsy. She is using fabric, sewn and in narrow ways painted, to define form and space. The work is casually hung and draped on the wall, on the floor, or in corners. I have not seen it in person but have emailed back and forth, sending pics of my work to her. We agreed that her work is about sculpture while my own fabric work is about painting.

Neo Rauch: I love to encounter painting and other work that I don’t fully understand – art that makes me crazy and wonder “what the fuck is going on.” I have to work hard to try and understand the narrative, and sometimes I don’t quite get there. Rauch’s shocking use of neon colors is bizarre against the drab green and browns, but it works well by testing comprehension and rewarding contemplation.

Dana Schutz; I am impressed and inspired by Schutz’s use of color that fills the canvas and seems intent on flowing over and beyond it. The activity created by her figures – whether they are fighting, breastfeeding, or showering – keeps me actively engaged, on edge and filled with suspense.

 Alan Neider, Vessel 5, 2014, paint, fabric, paper; 15 x 25 inches.
 Alan Neider, Yellow Winged Awning, 1981, paint on fabric, steel; 126h x 64w x 96d inches.

Bio: Since earning his MFA in sculpture at Washington University and his BFA in ceramics from California State University, Long Beach, Neider has shown work in numerous solo and group exhibitions. His work can be found in the flat files at Pierogi and Artspace (Connecticut). He has completed several public art commissions, including a free-standing painting titled Lake Dance on top of Navy Pier in Chicago, and has been awarded grants from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.

Thanks, Alan, for allowing me share our correspondence.

Related posts:
Neo Rauch at the Met (2007)


New Image Painters challenge Zombie Formalists (2014)

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Two Coats of Paint is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution – Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. To use content beyond the scope of this license, permission is required.

Two Coats of Paint is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution – Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. To use content beyond the scope of this license, permission is required.

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