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Obsessive Reductive

Hogar Collection
362 Grand Street, 718-388-5022
June 13 - July 28, 2008
Reception: Friday, June 13, 6 - 9 PM
Web Site

Peter Barrett, Cecilia Biagini, Peter Fox, Heather Hutchinson, Miki Lee and Michael McCaffrey

The Hogar Collection is very pleased to announce the upcoming group exhibition, Obsessive Reductive, featuring abstract painting and sculptural wall reliefs by Peter Barrett, Cecilia Biagini, Peter Fox, Heather Hutchinson, Miki Lee and Michael McCaffrey. The show includes work by six diverse artists who are all exploring rich post-minimalist pictorial terrain. While at first glance the work appears to share the same cool, detached quality that characterizes much minimal work, upon closer examination all these pieces are clearly made by hand, with the resulting imperfections and vicissitudes not hindering the result but in fact being essential to its effect. The handmade surface gives the work a warmth and depth that belies its formal rigor.

Michael McCaffrey’s seeming monochromes are in fact compositions of circles, bands, crosses, and targets- archetypal divisions of the square- made of two extremely similar yet slightly complementary colors. The close colors, applied with foam rollers for a blended edge, makes for a subtle but intense vibration that never quite resolves; they insist upon their instability with a quiet force, to the point where one has the feeling that they continue to pulse even in the absence of observing eyes.

Heather Hutchison also divides the square, but in her work the physical depth of the pieces and nature of the materials makes light both the subject and literal object. Appearing by turns natural, like sky over water, then synthetic, like a road or a wall, they become stand-ins for our experience of the sublime: glowing, yet confined within a box; gorgeous, but partially obscured. Her meticulous use of materials, and the balance between the hard-edged (plywood, plexi) and the liquid (wax, paint) allow her to wring a startling variety of experiences from a few elements.

Miki Lee uses a deceptively simple device: non-repeating colors defined by undulating contours. The varied results show just how much energy can spring from adjusting a few parameters: whether they ignore or are bound by the edge of the canvas, to what degree each color is influenced by its neighbors- whether in color, or contour, or both- and where the palette is keyed for each painting all have dramatic impact on the outcome. The result is a dynamic equilibrium- a tension between busy and tranquil- that creates perpetual motion.

Peter Fox has a very different take on the possibility for complexity to emerge from a narrow set of rules. Letting gravity pull his paint toward the floor, he intervenes as it drips, creating fascinating intricacies where hand, accident, and physics all contribute. The resulting layers of color upon color read as a kind of super-dense language, so the paintings seem constructed not just out of paint, but of paint deliberately formed into something more than itself- paint imbued with intelligence, that can form, be, and explain a painting all at once. All of this seething syntactical energy takes place within the boundaries of traditional canvas squares and rectangles, at once emphasizing and superseding the medium.

Cecilia Biagini’s shim pieces use off-the-shelf materials to create playfully elegant forms that transcend their humble origins. She uses the subtle variations in length from shim to shim and a careful awareness of the ways in which the wedges can compound into curves- and also cancel them out- to generate richly varied undulations. The bright, saturated colors she uses seem random up close, but from farther away they create a sense of light across the whole piece, acting as an almost chiaroscuro modeling that gives an added sense of volume and drama to each work. Peter Barrett works principally in painted reliefs- paintings that edge into the third dimension without becoming fully sculptural. Painted in gradated bands, they simultaneously evoke both extremes of several visual vocabularies: analog/digital, organic/geometric, natural/synthetic, and scientific/psychedelic. By varying the form and color, and moving between symmetry and asymmetry, he creates hybrid forms that push painting into the third dimension without giving up its essential nature and, like all of the above, affirm the potential for handmade images in the digital age.
Have photos of this show? Tag them with artcal-7262 to see them here.