Sunday, February 27, 2011

Notes on New Paintigns > Feb. 2011

Sunday, February 27, 2011 > Notes on New Work > Michael Kessler
A few days ago a new group of paintings were delivered to Madison Gallery in LaJolla.
The gallery space is very generous and spacious with high walls and a lovely view of the Pacific Ocean out the back.
I made a special group of paintings for this occasion which are similar but different from any previous work.
Nature evolves slowly over time through small incremental shifts one trait at a time or so I imagine. My work is the same and it is often the very small changes that end up affecting the work in very noticeable and important ways. For example the thickness of the panel that supports the image can become a very important factor as it has with this new group where I increased it by an inch. Now these works have grown to the dimensions of 96” x 40” with a three inch profile. The object-hood is nearly perfect for this scale and that is no small matter. In addition to this shift these works also employ a clean austere white (or red) three-inch wide grid structure that surrounds the more heavily-worked image within. Borders and dividers are nothing new to my lexicon however these particular grid-structures are clean and devoid of any marks or textures and thereby introduce a very sharp contrast which to me works extremely well visually. It is a formal signifier that gives emphasis to the more funky and natural elements presented in the more heavily-worked areas. Each of these seemingly small changes adds up to a more powerful and effective painting which after-all is the point of all this work. These new works possess a heightened sense of presence and a formality that makes a definitive statement and transmits more accurately the energy I am after. It represents a very important step forward in the evolution of my work.
The color I used in this new work is also carefully adjusted and restricted. There is an abundance of taupe or what might be referred to as a “dirty-white” which has been juxtaposed with the clean austere white or red grid-like armatures. Again this is not necessarily new to my repertoire but in this particular context the contrasts have been sharpened and maximized.
Modern Architecture continues to influence this work and can be seen as a major reference point that cannot be understated. For this I make no apology as I feel strongly drawn to the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and those that came after them.

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