When I walked into "Joyce Weinstein: Country Fields" at Ezair Gallery, I thought at first that I didn't like it. In the past, I've sometimes had problems with Weinstein's work, but I sat down and lived with these paintings for a few minutes and started taking notes on them and, in the end, decided that at their best, they were good. I thought at first: crude... these were big, crude outlines of circles, made of single strokes of oil stick, wobbly, uncertain looking at first, but large, filling out the canvas and accentuated by framing boxes or wavy boundaries and/or complimentary flecks of color. I thought next: dismaying... but at least, thank God, not cute. Next, my notes read, "serious raw". Some paintings were overdone, too much color or too many circles- the ones with the single circle worked best. Most had dark lines against blonder fields, but the best one in the show used a white circle against a darker field. This was "Country Fields with White" and the white circle was juxtaposed with two rectangles, one yellow and one pink. Some paintings didn't come off, but all had this gutsy, risk-taking quality that I welcomed.
Weinstein is capable of marvelous, zany passages: scribbles, spots and scratches of color that melt into the ground and then pull loose. Thes explosive passages look spontaneous (whether they are or not), as though everything simply found its proper place without effort.
In her best pictures, she leaves things out, forcing her backgrounds of saturated darks to function not simply as foil but as space. But Weinstein refuses to play it safe. The same contrary spirit that makes her use fluorescent greens, hot pinks and danger-alert oranges (and get away with it) also makes her risk overloading a picture.
- Nancy Tousley, Calgary Herald 1985
- Grace Glueck, New York Times 1979
- Hilton Kramer, New York Times 1976
The entire series is abstract, of course, but the paintings are built around rectangles and squares. These are often bordered by black lines and alternate between being painted with a single color and covered with scribbly up-and-down or sideways lines of paint.
She seems to start with quiet whites, grays, browns, and blacks, and then works into occasional or even pronounced highlights of pink or lime or yellow or purple. Still, everything looks natural, not machine-made or synthetic.
Although scratchy lines convey a certain sense of itchiness or irritation, they are set in a context or quiet reflection. Thus as a whole these paintings are harmonious, not grating, organized and not chaotic.
Above all, they are triumphantly human - though occasionally, a wild little sun puts in an appearance, as in the small gem that greets the visitor upon the gallery, and is entitled, "Winter Country Fields And Sky."
- Excerpt from review of one person exhibition at Berry Campbell Gallery, NYC ... by Piri Halasz "From The Mayor's Doorstep" (a printed and online review) ...August 23, 2016
"...her paintings are more about drawing and line - in the wildest possible interpretation of the terms - than about expanses of pigment. She constructs her paintings with expressive "calligraphy:" long wavering strokes; vigorously brushed circles and rectangles; urgent, close pressed verticals; stuttering loops and spots; wrist coils and sweeps. These varied gestures are sometimes delicate and crisp, sometimes substantial and almost relief-like, sometimes washy and blurred, and occasionally animated by airborne spatters and sprinklings of glitter. Together, the multiple, varied strokes form casual webs, now open, now airy, now pressed tight, across the canvas, paradoxically coalescing into coherent relationships and threatening to dissolve into tattered fragments. Weinstein treats the surface of support, whether a pristine white primed canvas or a warm, tawny expanse of linen, the way a choreographer treats the surface of the stage - as a plane to be reacted against. Like dancers in motion, her eloquent lines cross the stage, jump above it, or sink into it, exhibiting energy and dynamism but always acknowledging the flatness and the regtangular boundaries of the space they inhabit."
- By Karin Wilkin... Excerpts from an introduction piece for the catalogue "Stanley Boxer & Joyce Weinstein in conjunction with an exhibition at Douglas Flanders & Associates", Minn., MI. August 2016