This is a show about the joy of abstract visual design. Every piece reflects the interplay of two or three overlapping, solid-colored patterns. They resemble twisted cloth dipped into multiple dyes, or serigraphs printed from multiple screens. There is not the faintest hint of intended narrative or semiotics on the edgy borders of art and taste.
There is great diversity in effect, just as there is an interesting quirkiness of life in every shape, large or small. The artist is that unique lepidopterist who builds a collection of butterflies by designing his own. He applies thin paint to fine muslin, and similar to the wings of such creatures, forms emerge from within the delicate fabric.
Sometimes, the shapes feel brash and impulsive, as if the artist were channeling early Abstract Expressionists like Clyfford Still. Instead of pulling a paint-dipped brush across the surface, the artist has meticulously drawn the edges of each streak. Enough aggression and anger is present to make the work assertive, but instead of spontaneity, we have regularity. The pieces are the result of a carefully executed process, not impetuous rebellion. For that, they seem more suitable to express institutional rather than personal identity. With large shapes on eight-foot panels, they dominate the industrially sized Shane Campbell Gallery. They would be just as suitable for the spacious lobbies of new high-rises.
Some works seem to be exploding; others collect the shrapnel that follows. A few feel quiet and mysterious, especially when patterns have been painted, or glued, on the reverse, so images emerge dimly from the back. The artist has stated that “If I have two (paintings) that are too much the same, there’s no point in having both of them in there.” Yet always we feel a whole painting pulling itself together with a kind of fresh and cool perfection.
The artist, again: “Their analogue is me, and in that way, they are expressive.” They might also represent the elite corporate specialists—the anonymous, hard-driving folks who design, build and manage our world because they can. (Chris Miller)
Through October 22 at Shane Campbell Gallery, 2021 South Wabash