Ron Gorchov: Color and Form

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View from the entry: Noli Me Tangere, 2011, oil on linen

Now that I'm back from two weeks in Provincetown I'm going to spend some time looking back at what I saw in New York City in May. And I saw a lot.

We start with Ron Gorchov in a show curated by Phong Bui at Cheim & Read. It was the first solo at this gallery for the octogenerian painter, who has had a string of solos since 1960.

I wrote about Gorchov's previous solo, in 2008 at the Nicholas Robinson Gallery, so here let me say that the unique saddle shape he works with is here joined by two painted constructions that strike me as more sculpture than painting (the gallery press release calls them "stacked paintings"). These works embody varying degrees of image and structure; it's how they hold the wall and how you behold them.

The saddle-shaped paintings pull you in--typically with two biomorphic shapes on a thinly painted ground rich with rivulets and drips--yet keep you from getting too close frontally because of the way the saddle bows out. At the same time, the visible construction--staples holding the canvas, as well as the joints in the concave/convex stretcher--is quite intimate, so you feel a physical relationship with the work. This is especially so if you approach the work from the side, where you can get right next to it.

Let's go through the show. We'll start in the front gallery, enter the smaller back gallery on the right side of the dividing wall, and then exit on the left, returning to the main gallery with a panoramic view.

Standing in the center of the main gallery: Left, Chase Street Lounge, 2011; right, Tau Seti, 2012; visible in the back gallery, Adonis (Spring), 2012, all oil on linen

Below: Chase Street Lounge. To give you a sense of scale within the supersize proportions of the gallery, this painting is  43 x 36 x 9 inches

In the back gallery: La Piva, 2012, and Adonis (Spring)

Adonis (Spring), 41.5 x 36 x 8.5 inches with detail below

Seeing the staples and construction is intimate, like knowing what lingerie your lover is wearing under her dress. I love that about the work.

With Adonis (Spring) out of view to your left, we're looking at Thersites (Chastened) and peeking back into the front gallery

A panoramic view of the front gallery with, from left, Tau Seti (side view below), Artemisia II on far wall, and Pegasi


Above: side view of Tau Seti
Below: Front view of Pegasi.

Looking back toward the gallery entrance

You can see additional installation images on the gallery website.


Louise P. Sloane said...

Thanks for posting. This was one of the most beautiful exhibitions I've ever seen. Hats off to Phong for curating and hanging with taste and respect for Ron's wonderful and powerful paintings. It was refreshing to see the works given space and light.

Julian Jackson said...

A beautiful show. Cheim & Read is often overhung so this hanging respects both the art & the architecture. I've always loved the tug between the consciously labor intensive carpentry of Mr. Gorchov's supports and the intuitive and unfussy directness of his painting. His trademark forms seem to reflect the two halves of his brain engaged in this dialectic discussion.

Carole Reid said...

A beautiful and respectful exhibition of Gorchov's work.
Thanks for the closeups. I was wondering how the backs were made (pieces of art themselves!)

Paul Behnke said...

Great post! I second Louise's comment. Thanks for posting!

Gwendolyn Plunkett said...

Thanks, Joanne, for posting this exhibition. Not familiar with this artist's work. Another I would love to see in person. I will keep him on my radar. Maybe his work will filter down to Houston soon.