The viewer of Gordon Terry’s exhibition may come to the conclusion that these shimmering acrylic events, or paintings, have nothing to do with their titles – Sky Observes Time; The Last Years of Life on Earth; Correlated Cross Sections of Higher Solids Intersecting a Plane at Various Angles; Mr. Iboga, Mysterious Crop Formations, and the Approach of 2012. Of course, quite the opposite is fact; these paintings must have their far-reaching titles just as they must have their farther-reaching influences.
As well as embodying his obvious interests in the paranormal, metaphysics and altered states of consciousness, Terry’s recent paintings reflect his interest in early 20th Century abstraction – particularly the work of artists influenced by Theosophy like Kandinsky, Malevich, and Mondrian. We only have to look at the examples of his influences for our proof of the necessity of Terry’s own approach. Mondrian’s rigorous abstraction developed as much from his interest in Theosophy and the spiritual as it did his studies of color and form. Malevich’s black square came out of his proposals for future culture and future aesthetics. Later in the Century, Alfred Jensen generated paintings through the analysis of scientific and metaphysical systems as varied as the I Ching, Pythagoras, Goethe’s color theory, and the Mayan calendar. Harry Smith explored the esoteric languages of the Cabbala, Enochian magic, and Crowley’s O.T.O. in parallel with those of jazz, abstraction, and experimental film.
Over a number of years Terry has expanded his lexicon of techniques for manipulating fluid acrylic paint, pushing the limits of his material and his vocabulary of abstraction. He continues to create the painted elements of his works on a horizontal surface before transferring them to cast acrylic panels. However, in these new paintings, the artist gives particular consideration to the interaction between the paint and the panels’ empty, reflective space.
Black, luminous, tactile, formal, partially mirrored and optically psychedelic – there is a calculated sensuality to these paintings. Terry realizes that you cannot harmonize with the music of the spheres if you don’t have pitch. Multiple, perhaps parallel universes manifest from ostensibly abstract blobs on hard acrylic surfaces. Sea anemones; supernovas; intelligent pattern formations from the future; great, primordial, alien creatures locked in battle; fantastic geological upheavals on a planetary scale are all there to see—captured in paint.