Joanna Pousette-Dart and Ron Gorchov

Joanna Pousette-Dart and Ron Gorchov are making very different kinds of painings, but I’ve put them together here because their canvases are shaped and it's a place to start a conversation about the two artists.

Joanna Pousette-Dart at Moti Hasson, above: "canoe" shapes stack and nest but lie flat against the wall. Left: Untitled (Canones #4), 69 x 106 inches; right: Untitled (Canones #3), 79 x 92 inches; both 2007-2008, acrylic on canvas over wood panels

Ron Gorchov, below, at Nicholas Robinson: saddle shapes alter your thinking about where the painting is in relation to the wall

Pousette-Dart just squeaks into my “November” category. Her show at Moti Hasson ended on the first day of the month after having been up all of October. I wanted to write about it then but , uh, there’s this other thing I do that requires most of my time. Then I walked into the Gorchov show at Nicholas Robinson, and I knew I had found a way to talk about both artists’s paintings in one post.

In the large from gallery: Untitled (Canones #1), 2007-2008, 72 x 150 inches, and Untitled (Red Desert (#9), 2006-2007, 81 x 117 inches; both acrylic on canvas over panels

Pousette-Dart makes paintings that are chromatically gorgeous. The shapes are quirky, almost cartoony—like a Jetson’s version of “modern art”—but they're elegant, with an almost italic flow. Correspondingly, a calligraphic gesture threads its way over the surface of each painting, which is composed of two or three flat, canoe-shaped panels that nest or stack. There's a strong sense of movement within each painting--glide is the word that comes to mind--so perhaps the visual reference to a water vessel was intentional. I’d call the work lyrical geometry, although lyrical abstraction would probably be closer to the mark.

Below, Untitled (Night Road), 2008, 65 1/2 x 83 1/2 inches, acrylic on canvas over wood panels; in the far gallery, Untitled (Canones #5), 2008, 45 x 47 inches, acrylic on wood panel

The paintings by Ron Gorchov at the Nicholas Robinson Gallery through December 6 are not necessarily geometric either, but they embrace geometry as much as they embrace any number of other elements: abstract expressionism, biomorphism, sculpture, architecture.

The range of scale in Gorchov's show at Nicholas Robinson Gallery

Let’s start with the obvious. Whether large or small, Gorchov’s canvases are kind of saddle shaped and the color is by turns odd or beautiful. There are typically two biomorphic shapes in the center of each canvas; sometimes there are four somewhat more geometric elements placed to make an open square or rectangle. These shapes seem to hover just slightly above the surface. And because of the saddle shape of the canvas, which both bows out and dips in, each painting itself seems to hover at the wall. Approach a painting you’re not quite sure how close you can get without hitting your shins against the frame or bumping your nose into the canvas. I love when that happens! Not the bumping but the ambiguity of where the work is in relation to the wall, and where you are in relation to the work.

I’m packing for Miami—actually, by the time you read this, I’ll be there—so I’ll end the text here and leave you to see the shows on your own, whether on this post or on the respective gallery websites.

Sorry, I don't have specifics about the paintings, but in the two images below--which look closely at the small painting in the picture above, you can see the odd placement of the staples holding the canvas to the frame, and a side view showing the frame itself

The frame, below, qualifies as sculpture, don't you think?

The work at right is the most geometric of the paintings, but to be honest, I prefer the mystery of the biomorphic shapes

This is the painting that was barely visible in the first installation shot. It's on the wall just to the left as you exit to the street


Jeffrey Collins said...

That last piece of Ron's looks like a homage to Adolph Gottlieb and his style of painting. Wonderful use of colors.

Hrag said...

This is such a vibrant and wonderful post. Thank you for sharing this!

tony said...

The juxtaposition of these two artists' work is intriguing. In both I am reminded images drawn from Red Indian cultures - in Pousette-Dart's instance it is flattened totempoles which spring to mind whilst for Gorchov I am reminded of Indian shields. I would love to know if indeed Pousette-Dart had consciously drawn from such sources.

Anonymous said...

I love Ron's work. I assisted him in the 80"S

wil jansen said...

oooo I like the paintings or what are they very much, very good