10.01.2015

Systems that Dazzle


Two current exhibitions--Gabriel Evertz: The Gray Question at Minus Space in Dumbo (through the 31st), and 1960s Hard Edge Painting: DC, LA, NY at D. Wigmore Fine Art on Fifth Avenue in Midtown (through Nov. 6)--afford us a look, spanning half a century and three major cities, of paintings in which flat color, pristine geometry and systematic compositions hold sway. 

Above: Gabriele Evertz, Intensification (Come Closer), 2014, acrylic on canvas over panel, 60 x 60 inches. Gallery photo

Below: Gene Davis, Royal Veil, 171, acrylic on canvas, 93 x 110 inches

We start with the contemporary painter, Gabriel Evertz. In her solo show, the veteran painter introduces an achromatic spectrum into her signature stripe paintings. The result is an undulating field of color inflected and affected by gray. What you may not see until you get up close, really close, is that while the chromatic stripes are rigorously parallel, the grays are painted at an angle. That is to say that in the thickness of one stripe, two extremely acute angles of slightly different values are painted; what starts out thick at the top tapers to nothing at the bottom, while what starts out thick at the bottom tapers to nothing at the top. It's subtle but potent. So now when you find yourself falling visually into the painting you'll know why.

By the way, the new Minus Space is sublime.

Evertz installation view looking to the back wall of the gallery

Below, the painting you also see at right in the installation view:
RYBG (Agent), 2015, acrylic on canvas over panel, 60 x 60 inches. Gallery photo


Here's a detail of RYGB (Agent)'s angled grays

Installation view looking toward the front. Lens distortion makes the painting in foreground look rectangular when it's actually square, which you can see below

RGB (Three Brothers), 2015, acrylic on canvas over panel, 60 x 60 inches. Gallery photo


At the venerable D. Wigmore Fine Art, Deedee Wigmore and Emily Lenz have assembled, as they do with each exhibition, a museum-worthy collection. Here it's hard-edge paintings from the 1960s (and 1970s). It's instructive to note the differences from these three big cities. While the Washington painters worked largely on unprimed canvas, the Los Angeles group worked in oil, and the New Yorkers in acrylic. Medium may not be immediately or even necessarily apparent so much as the result, which is optically compelling both compositionally and chromatically. You can read Emily Lenz's essay here

Installation view: Thomas Downing on far wall, Paul Reed, Downing, Tadasky, Julian Stanczak 

Three by Paul Reed, each 1962, acrylic on canvas, 34 x 34 inches
with detail below:


Thomas Downing, Tadasky, Stanczak with detail of Tadasky below

C-185 (Four Color Shift, 1965, acrylic on canvas, 56 x 56 inches


From farther back looking toward the front. Middle ground: black and white paintings by Bill Kommodore and Richard Anuszkiewicz; foreground, Frederick Hammersley and John McLaughlin

From mid gallery looking to the back: There's a better view of the Anuszkiewicz at left, and Bill Kommodore on the wall between the windows. Far right there's a peek at a small Gene Davis, which you can see better below

Gene Davis with detail 


Karl Benjamin, #36, 1964, oil on canvas, 50 x 50 inches

Two more by Benjamin

(The last interview Benjamin gave before he died in 2012 was to Julie Karabenick at Geoform. Read it here. You will also find interviews with Julian Stanczak and Tadasky)

5 comments:

Sue Marrazzo said...

I am so INSPIRED!
Thanks for sharing.

Annette Kearney said...

dazzled is right!

Sherèe Lutz said...

such vibrant color!

annell said...

Wonderful post!!!

progden said...

Can anyone explain how the artist is able to paint the stripes so precisely?