All images courtesy of Galerie Richard unless otherwise indicated
Color is a function of reflected light and it is intrinsic to everything we see. Color is also freighted with emotion for humans – certain colors can excite or depress us even without our awareness – teases, shouts, whispers, sings. Color can be fugitive or it may sound an alarm. As a painter and former paint-maker, color has been a lifelong obsession for me. It’s also the focus of a new, stunning group show at Galerie Richard on the Lower East Side.
A standout of the show for me is the pairing of Jamie Martinez’ paintings, which bend the world into prismatic shapes, hanging across the gallery from Carl Fudge’s digital screen prints. While Fudge’s images rely on the familiar square building blocks of the pixel, Martinez’ paintings shimmer and bristle with triangles. Where Fudge’s prints have a rhythmic pattern, Martinez’ work takes the viewer through a funhouse mirror. While Martinez’ paintings make the only nod towards representation in the show, Fudge’s work enticingly resists the eye’s desire to resolve the patterns into a pictorial space.
Another lyrical pairing at the front of the space is the conversation between the work of Dennis Hollingsworth and Kim Young-Hun. Working in a very similar colorspace to Kim Young-Hun, Hollingsworth’s paint stretches, slides, bunches, gathers, and skids across his surfaces, evoking natural forms with a chaotic energy. Kim Young-Hun, in contrast, carefully stacks stroke upon same-sized stroke along a horizontal axis. For this viewer, they had a soothing effect, bringing to mind the Ocean Park paintings of Diebenkorn or the vertical landscapes of Wayne Thiebaud.
In the back section of the gallery, three artists exemplify very different ideas about the surface plane of a painting. Along the back wall, a row of same-sized canvases by Noriko Mizokawa treat a similar looping and bubbly form with different cheerful color treatments, including metallic reflective paint in some passages. Seeming to scowl at the cheerful energy of Mizokawa’s work are a suite of velour paintings by Joseph Nechvatal. Nechvatal’s paintings are created with a computer/robotic assisted process that incorporates computer viruses and subtle images of the human body. Nechvatal’s work seemed to disappear for me the more I wanted to see it, an aggressive minimalism that makes its presence indirectly felt. Finally, Koen Delaere’s work triangulates this interplay of texture with strong lines and an intense surface treatment. Natural parallel ridges rise up in translucent acrylic from these canvases in seismic rhythms, bringing to mind the whorls of a fingerprint.
This show is a continuation of an exhibition concept that had begun earlier in the year by Saul Ostrow in the show ‘Position Matters’. Taken together, these shows investigate the primary elements which define an artwork in the mind of the viewer. Explorations of color are what bring this diverse group of artists together, but the ‘Matter’ of the title has an important supporting role. Tensions between digital creative processes and more traditional art materials run through the show. While much of the work is mirror-smooth, Hollingsworth and Delaere in particular build up sculptural textures to tease and delight the eye. I experienced this show with the full force of a Sunday afternoon’s autumn light flooding in from Orchard Street, and I enjoyed the way the warm sunlight played across the surfaces of the work, enhancing the diverse uses of color.
“Color Matters” at Galerie Richard through November 17
Koen Delaere, Carl Fudge, Dennis Hollingsworth, Kim Young-Hun, Jamie Martinez, Noriko Mizokawa, and Joseph Nechvatal
121 Orchard Street in Manhattan
Sharilyn Neidhardt is a Brooklyn-based visual artist. She is a co-founder of the artists’ community trans-cen-der and is an assistant curator at Friday Studio Gallery. She’s an avid cyclist, loves midnight movies, and speaks only a little German. Her first solo show ‘Supermassive Black Hole’ opened Sept 7 at Art During the Occupation in Brooklyn. More at sharilynart.com