Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sam Trioli: Brumaire Opens at HYG

Sam Trioli, Untitled (Heat), 2012
Oil on canvas, 48 x 36"
Installation image courtesy of the artist

Howard Yezerski Gallery is proud to present Brumaire, an exhibition of new paintings by Sam Trioli. The paintings in Brumaire are an investigation of abstraction through the eyes of a photorealist painter. Absorbing the grainy details of an old photograph, the paintings seek an emotive response, pushing a historical moment to the tingle of Rothko and Richter.

Howard Yezerski Gallery - Sam Trioli: Brumaire
On View October 26 - December 22, 2012
Image courtesy of Sam Trioli
Trioli's paintings recreate moments of material force. In these explosions, burning fields, and nuclear clouds, constant force becomes the composition as hyperrealist images fall into abstraction. Trioli is particularly interested in the abstract qualities of early photography; the grain and blown out light are abstract recordings of a moment. He continues the conversation of the ever more distant historical moments through their physical and material contexts.
Sam Trioli, Untitled (Melt), 2012
Oil on canvas, 12 x 9"
Untitled (Melt), images the explosion of the Hindenburg in 1937. An iconic image cropped just enough to evade recognition, it steps away from its original context. No longer standing in for a tragic failure of technology, the image becomes about heat and contrast. The frame crumples into itself, white flames spreading into the black sky above, a dance between the detail of photorealism and the ambiguity of abstraction.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Rhona Bitner in the Boston Globe

Rhona Bitner, Grande Ballroom, Detroit, MI, 2008
40" x 40" Color Coupler print
For her ongoing series “Listen,” Rhona Bitner has been taking large ­scale color photographs of sites associated with American popular music: recording studios, concert halls, clubs, and the like. So far she’s photographed more than 200. Seven of her images are on display at the Howard Yezerski Gallery through Oct. 23.

They look great. Unmatted, mounted on aluminum, and at 40 inches by 40 inches, they seem more like windows than images. Some of the places are famous, even legendary, like Electric Lady Studios, in New York, or the Whisky a Go Go, in Los Angeles. What an air of crisp mystery Bitner manages to impart to the Whisky stage, through a combination of harsh light and darkness.

There’s a powerful temptation to say that these pictures sound great, too. There’s a gleam to Bitner’s images that the ear picks up on no less than the eye does. You can almost hear the music that has filled these spaces - this despite the fact, or perhaps because of it, that some are now in such tough shape. Detroit’s Grande Ballroom closed in 1972, and the magnificence of decrepitude is something to see.

Bitner knows the importance of details - the less expected the better. Why shouldn’t there be a Turkish carpet on the parquet floor at Electric Lady? And is that a shopping cart over in the corner of the Birmingham, Ala., club Tuxedo Junction? Yes it is. There are no people in any of these photographs, but mysteries and memories in abundance.

Mark Feeney
Globe Staff
Friday, September 14, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Jennifer Amadeo-Holl: The Possibles

Jennifer Amadeo-Holl, The Possibles September 2011, oil on linen, 8 x 8

Howard Yezerski Gallery is proud to present a show in our back gallery of Jennifer Amadeo-Holl's latest paintings, The Possibles. In the series Amadeo-Holl explores the potential for simple shapes to trigger memories and emotions, and the familiarity and strangeness inherent in abstraction

Jennifer Amadeo-Holl, The Possibles 8/16/2012, oil on linen, 9 x 12
Their first impression is of simplicity, as when one recognizes a friend from far away by the distinctness of their shape alone. Then comes the trickle of reflections, leading to thoughts no longer simple. So that to look again at the shape on the horizon, or to look again at the painting on the wall, would be to feel that while we may have only glimpsed a bit of matter, a shadow of something, we have also visited a place where image and energy alternately fuse and divide. 
Jennifer Amadeo-Holl, The Possibles 10/13/2011, oil on linen, 8 x 8

The result is a group of tender but formidable, paradoxically harmonic paintings that are inexplicable and yet speak. 

Rhona Bitner: Images from the Series LISTEN

Rhona Bitner, Electric Lady Studios, New York, NY
November 9, 2007, Color Coupler print mounted on aluminum, 40" x 40"

In her latest series of photographs, LISTEN, Rhona Bitner images the iconic spaces of American music. Continuing her photographic investigations into the experience of performance, spectacle and theater, Bitner began a journey to create a visual recording of the studios, arenas, clubs and theaters that rocked American popular culture through the twentieth century and remain part of our collective memory today. The artist weaves between famed and forgotten sites, from the lofty ceilings of Electric Lady Studios in New York and Ocean Way Recording in Los Angeles to the modest, whitewashed corners of Tuxedo Junction in Birmingham or the sweaty mosh-pit of Harpo’s in Detroit. The voices of Buddy Holly, Muddy Waters, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, Patti Smith and countless others have graced the halls presented in her images -- their echoes reflecting off the vibrant surfaces of her prints. Thus far in the project she has photographed over 200 venues, and she’s not done. Individually, the images are a tribute to American music. Together, the series becomes a photographic symphony of an integral part of American life and culture.
Rhona Bitner, Grande Ballroom, Detroit, MI
October 29, 2008, Color Coupler print mounted on aluminum, 40" x 40"
Much of her time is spent researching, editing, choosing. Eventually, she hits the road - treks to these places and listens carefully before she makes her image. Bitner's aesthetic enters the picture only to clarify the sound. These journeys create an anthology of larger, entwining ideas of space and history and become a union of sight and sound.
Harpo's Concert Theater, Detroit, MI
October 28, 2009, Color Coupler print mounted on aluminum, 40" x 40"
The large-scale chromogenic prints are rich with color and detail. Scars lurk through the veneer of a stage once painted, a wall once broken. Nothing stands between the viewer and the sticky depth of the print. History, both intimate and grand, unravels before us on these shining, shifting and shimmying surfaces. The music whispers out from their edges.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Boston Globe Review of Material Abstraction

Carter Potter, Negative 6 (Landscape), 2002, 70mm polyester film on stretcher, 28" x 28"
They Define, or Refine, 'Paint'

There’s no paint involved in Carter Potter’s clever “Negative 6 (Landscape),’’ the first piece inside the front door of Howard Yezerski Gallery, and the keynote of the gallery’s summer group show, “Material Abstraction.’’ Potter has mounted strips of 70mm film across a wooden frame — the kind you would stretch a canvas over. Even though this isn’t a painting, it’s about painting much more than it’s about photography.

Many of the works in “Material Abstraction’’ are made with no paint at all, but the show prods at the edges of the definition of painting. That’s become a theme this summer: Check out “The Space in Between’’ at Steven Zevitas Gallery and “Steve Locke: you don’t deserve me’’ just across Thayer Street.

Potter’s 10 strips of shiny, translucent negatives feature shots of water meeting land, with frothy trees along the shore. The horizon line is a diagonal, and becomes more vertical with each frame. The repeating image is almost incidental; it serves the needs of a larger abstraction. Stand back, and see a pattern in which those horizon lines twist downward over the bands of the strips like so many satin ribbons.

The most traditional painter in the exhibit is Ulrich Wellmann, who delights in the materiality of paint. He pushes it around in swirls that have delicate vitality and resemble the breath and beating heart of a chick rustling the down of its breast. For “Painting (Yellow-green/Whitegreen)’’ Wellmann applies that stroke to plexiglass, in a lather of tart pale green that doesn’t reach the edges of the picture plane. The plexiglass surface then becomes a kind of container for the effervescent energy of Wellmann’s paintings — except that the paint roils over the surface.

Bob Oppenheim sews onto his mostly blue-painted canvases, and adds pinhead-size dots with which he anchors meandering threads to this canvas. And Brian Zink makes geometrical patterns with colored plexiglass in high-gloss works that bounce light toward you even as they shift into the illusion of deep space. All these artists revel in the texture and sheen of the materials they work with. That’s what releases them into the possibilities of abstraction.

- Cate McQuaid
Globe Correspondent
August 1, 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Announcing Material Abstraction: Bob Oppenheim, Carter Potter, Ulrich Wellmann, and Brian Zink

Colored thread, plexiglass, polyester film spacers - material reigns. Abstraction is an aspiration for the essential. At the height of Modernism, artists obsessed over how to make a painting that escalated paint to its most essential and most elemental state. Today, we bring together four artists: Bob Oppenheim, Carter Potter, Ulrich Wellmann and Brian Zink all seek new materials as the vehicle and the subject. The materials are simple, ranging from the indexical to the pristine. Each responds to its environment, reflecting or absorbing light, revealing or concealing process. The works surrender to these qualities, and the result is an aesthetic of  honest abstraction - in which a relentless physicality grounds the aspirations of traditional abstraction, marrying the physical and the ephemeral.

The artists enter into a dialogue with the material. Bob Oppenheim engages the physicality of canvas through the indexical gesture of sewing. Along his canvases, trails of thread weave - notes of a singular melody. The result is romantic and raw, as the visitor comes face to face with the tender relationship between the artist and his materials.

Carter Potter stretches filmstrips over wood frames, replacing the traditional canvas with a remnant of another medium. The images within each frame are the most representational work in the show, yet the abstraction in their repetition is as deeply geometric as Brian Zink's plexiglass patterns. The wall behind the piece is a material in itself, glowing gently through the filmstrips to illuminate the structure of the stretcher.

Ulrich Wellmann introduces paint as a material. Up against the soft white of the plexiglass, the oil hovers. Turns of the wrist highlight brushstrokes that float together like a cloud. The edges of the paint are important - a defined arbitrary border beyond which the plexiglass reigns. Along that border a shadow forms. A quiet chameleon, the soft white plexiglass frames and cradles the wild strokes.

Brian Zink's paintings are made of plexiglass. Patterns in a palette restricted by commercial production are fitted together with mechanical precision for a fetish finish that seems to hold secrets. Viewers are tempted to lean in, glimpse the work from a new perspective. One's own sharp reflection changes with the color of the panel, staring back at you. The reflections, inherent to the material, allow the tight compositions to breathe. A space opens up within them and one walks right into the world of pure color and pattern. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Morgan Bulkeley Review in the Boston Globe

Morgan Bulkeley has a new show of frenetic, cartoonish, apocalyptic paintings at Howard Yezerski Gallery. Bulkeley populates chaotic landscapes with lumpy naked figures, keen-eyed birds, and other animals.

Morgan Bulkeley, Chasing Big Bucks, 2012
oil on canvas, 36" x 48"
In many works, he activates the entire field with a frenzy of characters and paint flecks. There’s satiric social commentary in paintings such as “Chasing Big Bucks,” in which many such characters wrestle and fight over fives and twenties. These invite laughter and a knowing nod, but several other canvases featuring a more focused composition with a central image inevitably go deeper.

Morgan Bulkeley, Where Late the Sweet Birds, 2011
oil on canvas, 36" x 48"
“Unfinished Hogan,’’ for instance, depicts a couple embracing under a dome made from branches that stick through sketches. One shows a man cutting through a branch with a chainsaw; another has a clown jabbing a Native American in the eye with his thumb. The wry, alarming commentary is still there, but here Bulkeley also grapples with himself, as he builds a shelter from products of his imagination.

Morgan Bulkeley, After Sleeping Gypsy, 2011
oil on canvas, 36" x 48"
In these works, the artist does not merely create a Three Stooges-like scenario that rails against how the human race has undermined the environment. Bulkeley more palpably evokes humanity’s vulnerability, and the thin scrims of protection we wrap ourselves in.

Morgan Bulkeley, Blimp/ Hogan/ Airplane/ Tepee/ Crash, 2012
oil on canvas, 36" x 48"
Blimp/Hogan/Airplane/Tepee Crash” has an aptly descriptive title - it’s a middle-of-the-night disaster. Inside the hogan (again, apparently constructed of sketches), a woman sleeps and a man, painted in black-and-white stripes, sits beside her. Is he watching over her, or is he a predator? Is she a stand-in for Gaia, or is she us? There’s mystery here that is less evident in works such as “Chasing Big Bucks,” and the satisfying sense that Bulkeley is more and more serving his imagination, rather than harnessing it to his own ends.

- Cate McQuaid
Globe Correspondent
June 27, 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Announcing Morgan Bulkeley: New Work on view 5/25 through 7/10

Morgan Bulkeley, Faces in Breeze, 2010, oil on canvas, 40" x 48"

"In the end, the painting is an attempt to discover a place somewhere between laughter and despair, between joy and anxiety, a place that will be habitable, even restorative, once entered."
                                                                                                - Morgan Bulkeley

Howard Yezerski Gallery is proud to present an exhibition of new work by Morgan Bulkeley. Quirky and smart, the paintings playfully address critical issues in contemporary society. We peer into a world constructed by Bulkeley, where meanings are manifested in characters who interact and play out the imagined stories. Bulkeley taps into a technique of visual narrative that goes back to illuminated manuscripts in which objects interact like turns of phrase, each an index of a much larger idea. Writer Gregory Whitehead notes that Bulkeley "finds a way of figuring the human body that is drained of specificity, abstracted, yet also identifiably human... arriving at an aesthetic of figurative abstraction." The goofy humanoids are blank slates for the artist's fantastical and critical world. As such, the paintings are packed with meaning to dissect and discuss, mull over and discover.

The scenes play out over lush hills, a homage to his beloved Berkshires. Nature is the constant force behind the absurd matrix of human interactions. George Washington is in a frenzy while Donald Duck leads a man into a trap and people are hunted by deer. The hills are a stage, delineating spaces within the painting within which scenes occur - grasshoppers dance with bones, family members take cover from machine guns. A dialogue between nature and man develops as the wings of birds fit carefully up against the angles of a flying piece of paper or of the lines of a bow and arrow. Patterns emerge and the objects move from foreground to background and back again. Birds fly above and below - observing and moving on.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Going Beyond the Surface: Boston Globe Reviews Paul Shakespear and Karl Baden

Paul Shakespear, Pier, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 36" x 53"

"Painter Paul Shakespear experiments with the material properties of paint: how to achieve translucence? Depth? A stony surface? His show at Howard Yezerski Gallery features all these, sometimes juxtaposed in a single piece. The work has no narrative. There’s some mark making, but it’s subservient to the tactile quality of the surface of a painting, or its luminosity. It’s all about painting as object.
"Shakespear applies dozens of glazes to each canvas with a trowel, creating panels dense with color. Looking into them is like peering into a giant aquarium. In “Vault,” that aquarium would be filled with honey. The murky, rich panels in this four-square grid lighten along the edges and at corners. The piece’s rich sensuality is reined in only by its strict, modernist format.
"Pier” comprises three panels. The center, a vertical white column, is breathy in places, buttery in others. The panel on the left is gritty, rugged, with rough swipes of dark brown over a ground that resembles lichen-covered rock. The right, a deliciously glossy teal, shimmers like a swatch of silk. The two side panels play off each other — rough versus soft, defiantly opaque versus luminously shiny. The middle column cleanses the palate. Each panel is a world unto itself, and a place to spend time.
Karl Baden, 2008 Lexus 350, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2012, archival inkjet print, 16" x 20"
"Yezerski has a second show, color photos by Karl Baden, that makes a comical pairing to Shakespear's contemplative canvases, but both have to do with surface and color, and suggest the experience of peering through glass.
"Baden’s bodacious photos were all shot from within a car, looking out. The windshield or windows function like movie screens; what’s going on outside seems larger than life. In “2008 Lexus 350, Cambridge, Massachusetts,” three women in eveningwear hurl accusations at each other, seemingly across the hood, as the car's dash glows an eerie blue. Closer investigation reveals the women are in an advertisement on the side of a passing bus; you can see a utility pole through the bus’s window at the top of the frame.
"Not all of the photos hinge on billboard ads, but they do portray a world outside the car that looks wild and big, making the car into a protective shell for the viewer, an extension of self. Which, of course, it is."
- Cate McQuaid
Globe Correspondent
May 9, 2012

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Karl Baden: In and Out of the Car

Karl Baden: In and Out of the Car is now on view in the back room at the Howard Yezerski Gallery. These wacky photographs will pull you in and make you think - Which is flatter, a car window or a poster? What makes a camera turn an interior blue, but keeps the outside world true to reality? Come in and see for yourself.
2008 Lexus 350, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2012, archival inkjet print, 16" x 20"
Press Release:
Howard Yezerski Gallery is pleased to announce In and Out of the Car, an exhibition of five of Karl Baden's latest photographs. The series is an exploration of the signs, machines, and illusions of the world seen through his car window. The cockpit of an automobile is at the center of an increasingly complex and responsive sort of cell. The car is a membrane between inside and outside space. Normally static surfaces and textures of the interior compete fiercely for territory with the lumpy chaos of materials that make up life on the other side of the membrane.
Karl Baden, 2008 Lexus 350, Fresh Pond, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2010, archival inkjet print, 16" x 20"
The window is a lens, a safe perimeter that frames and defines the limitless exterior world, flattening and reducing the spaces and places that we inhabit. Windows frame a landscape in continuous motion. People are everywhere, gesticulating, lugging shopping bags, pushing strollers, walking dogs, arguing, embracing; they make microsecond-long appearances in the windows of stores, cafes and other cars before they're sucked behind like exhaust. You drive on. Billboards and trucks cloaked in blinding ads fill your windows like cinemascope, then drop back to let the drama continue.
Karl Baden, 2010 Honda Accord, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2010, archival inkjet print, 16" x 20"
Meanwhile, the radio plays, the CD pops out, the phone buzzes, the seat belt sign flashes, the directional blinks, the heat gauge goes up, the gas gauge goes down. The GPS slims down the landscape into information - "in 500 yards, turn left" - only the essential, in a crisp British accent. But just outside your bubble, the world descends. We see so much of the world through our metaphorical car windows - we access knowledge through the internet, and our friends through our iphones. Baden playfully addresses the impact of that glossy frame on our experience of the world around us.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Announcing Paul Shakespear: Corrientes at Howard Yezerski Gallery

Paul Shakespear: Corrientes opens tonight! Check out the press release below.

Press Release:

Howard Yezerski Gallery is pleased to present new work by Paul Shakespear. The paintings are a powerful compression of emotion, memory, and visual delight. The title of the show, Corrientes, references the slow change of shifting trends, a half-lit address in Buenos Aires out of a song, the watery depth of ocean currents. 
Paul Shakespear, Cove, 2011, acrylic on canvas, 26" x 60 1/4", Photo: Will Howcroft
 The paintings are slow - they demand contemplation. Upwards of thirty glazes of acrylic are brushed, troweled, and rubbed on. The hours that Shakespear puts into the work are compressed into those layers and layers of thin glazes, their distinct features emerging slowly as you let them. 
Paul Shakespear, Seville, 2011, acrylic on canvas, 12" x 65", Photo: Will Howcroft
 Shakespear is hesitant to reference influences from life - the paintings are evocations of something deeper than changes on the surface. Not unlike deep sea currents, unseeable and untouchable, but essential to the planet as inner thoughts are to our being. Also like the sea, the surfaces are alluring, a glossy window onto the world within. The gloss is a byproduct of the process, of the subtlety of the layers built up. With each layer the colors are richer and richer - building a visual conversation underneath the sheen. Be careful of this gloss - look too fast and you'll miss the space within it. 
Paul Shakespear, Pitfall, 2011, acrylic on canvas, 66" x 36", Photo: Will Howcroft
The paintings are objects that don't sit exactly on the wall - they swell with light and float off in one direction or another. Multiple panels build off of one another - tension fills the space between them. Colors within hum with tension and resonance. The result is otherworldly in the sense that they are solid but made up of the intangible, the ghostly, the not quite knowable; Shakespear looks to capture the stuff of that ethereal realm that lives beside us and within us.

On view April 20 - May 22, 2012

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Review of 'Echo' in the Boston Globe

Vitality and Strength 
By: Cate McQuaid

John Goodman's grainy, black-and-white photographs at Howard Yezerski Gallery emphasize motion and form. They convey a masculine sensibility, and a melancholy one; they celebrate vitality and strength, and grieve its short stay. The show, organized by curator Bonnell Robinson, visits several bodies of work, including photos of a Times Square boxing gym, Boston Ballet dancers, people in the streets of Havana, and more.

"Carousel/Tulsa" depicts a rodeo horse rearing behind a gate, mane flying. Goodman shot it at an angle; the people in the distant stands slide past the horse on a diagonal, ramping up the animal's height and urgency. You can see that same athletic force in the boxer gleaming with sweat in "Anthony Greene," all muscle and grit as he tapes his hands. Lights stream in from the doorway behind him, like those on a passing freight train.

A similar, more delicate rush appears in "Dominos/Havana Cuba." Goodman shot it from above, focusing on the worn game board, the dominoes reflecting in the sun. As in "Carousel/Tulsa," he angles the frame to give the shot spin. The players' hands blur as the pass over the pieces. Even the crisper photos seem to propel forward. "Father's Day/Coney Island" depicts a canoodling couple on the beach; they roll off center, toward the edge of the frame: passion at its height, and on the way out.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

John Goodman: Echo

Howard Yezerski Gallery is pleased to present Echo, a solo exhibition of Boston-based photographer John Goodman, from February 10 - March 13, 2012. The exhibition is selected from photographs representing more than three decades of Goodman’s work and is curated by Bonnell Robinson.

Along with selections from his acclaimed book on boxing, The Times Square Gym, and his well known portfolios of Havana and the Boston Ballet, there are images never before exhibited from travels in Cuba, Italy and the USA.

A constant in all Goodman’s work is his connection to people and his ability to photograph them during the moments when they are most revealed. He captures the boxer lost in thought, the ballet dancer preparing for her moment onstage, a gospel singer in song, the couple who have playfully shed their clothes on a summer day to pose for his camera.

Goodman's world is one in which oppositions become dualities-one can’t exist without the other. We see it in his choice of subject matter:

“I am drawn to the body and its contradictions. I explore the contest between light and dark, male and female, grit and tenderness youth and age, power and grace.”

Goodman’s characteristic syntax and atmosphere draw us inside events we might ordinarily overlook. Blur, grain, softened edges are protagonists in Goodman’s work suggesting the very act of perception. Nothing can be captured with entire clarity because life itself escapes the confines of the frame.
Like the photographer, the subjects of Goodman’s world are in constant motion: people sing, dance, fight, gamble, and cut loose. And the moment passes. Even lovers on a beach, enjoying an intimate stillness, disappear by the final image.

The bittersweet qualities of Goodman’s work build towards his own kind of summation in this exhibition about life--and these photographs are Goodman’s tribute to living it fully.

John Goodman’s work is represented in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. His work has appeared in New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, Esquire, and Rolling Stone. Goodman studied with the photographer Minor White in the 1970's and is now on the faculty of the Art Institute of Boston.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Reviews of Brian Zink: Assembled

The Boston Phoenix:

Composition in 2026 Black and 3015 White, 22.5 x 20

For some time now, East Cambridge artist Brian Zink has been rummaging through the history of '60s minimalism. His last body of work was wall reliefs assembled from Band-Aid-colored plastic handrails or bumpers like the ones you see in hospitals. They're serious, striped constructions, but also faintly humorous — like sculptures Carl Andre might make if he was confined to a nursing home.

Zink's new show, "Assembled" at Howard Yezerski Gallery (460 Harrison Ave, Boston, through February 7), features handsome, hard-edged abstractions assembled from mod, jitterbugging patterns of flat Plexiglass tiles. Some diamond and triangle designs feel like details from argyle sweaters. A white square radiates black and white rays like a Japanese rising-sun flag. One pattern of wide M's and W's made from black and white parallelograms begins to suggest fences receding back into space. But mainly Zink picks designs that emphasize the flatness of the surface.

And, oooh, those surfaces: shiny Plexi tiles — mostly muted blacks, grays, and ivories — catch the light of the room as well as your reflection. The works bring to mind the '50s California hard-edged paintings of Lorser Feitelson or Karl Benjamin, op art, the high gloss of fetish-finish art, and that line from the 1967 film The Graduate about the future being "plastics." They're buoyant, but also hermetic. It's not the sort of abstraction in which you dive into paint that's been whipped up into moody outbursts. It's about cool, sleek design and staying on the synthetic plastic surface. This literal shallowness is both tantalizing and alienating. Like Frank Stella said of his own flat, geometric paintings in 1966: "What you see is what you see."

- Text by Greg Cook, January 10, 2012

The Boston Globe:

Composition in 2026 Black, 3015 White and 2308 Turquoise, 32.5 x 30

Synapses firing

Brian Zink is a minimalist with pizazz. His show, “Assembled,’’ at Howard Yezerski Gallery, is deceptively straightforward and clean: Using Plexiglas, he lays out geometric patterns on panels. They buzz and pop and shift. They’re not paintings, but they explore one of painting’s conceptual edges, between object and picture.

We interact with the object on a physical level: It’s a boxy panel that protrudes a bit from the wall, with a shiny surface. The picture engages the imagination: Is it just a pattern? Does it depict space? “Composition 2662 Red and 2026 Black’’ is a checkerboard made of trapezoids. The diagonals hint that the picture goes beyond the surface; abutting trapezoids resemble the faces of a jutting or receding cube.

Zink makes several works using the same pattern with different colors. A zigzag of turquoise and black rhomboids over white looks as if it’s floating; the same zigzag of white and green over black looks flatter, grounded. There’s a wonderful clarity to these pieces. Looking at them enables us to witness our synapses firing, as we leap conceptually between space and surface.

- Text by Cate McQuaid, January 18, 2012

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Brian Zink: Assembled

Brian Zink: Assembled

January 6 - February 7, 2012
Opening Reception: Friday January 6th, 6-8pm

Press Release:

"Every form is a base for colour; every colour is the attribute of a form."
-       -Victor Vasarely

With Assembled, Brian Zink returns to his well-known colored Plexiglas construction practice.  Zink’s new work, however, extends that language into a critical consideration of the symbiotic and uncanny relationship between pure abstraction and pictorial space.

For Zink, the real springs from the sheer presence of the material object – and, as the show’s title and an initial inspection make clear, the works are Assembled from machine-manufactured parts. Each work is constructed of a thick flat plastic slab supporting a careful arrangement of glossy, commercially-colored, chunky Plexiglas diamonds and rhombi.  The compositions appear regular: a simple, direct pattern sustained by a single hue balanced against black, white, and/or gray.   In fact each comprises a symmetrical design that suggests an infinite repetition, the base repeat of an endless pattern.  Like other Zink constructions, we’re rooted by their materiality, simplicity, and patterning to a consideration of the real space we occupy with them.

But this rootedness gradually unfolds into another, uncanny experience of space.  The sharp diagonals and strident horizontals and verticals of Zink’s designs assemble strange, shallow pictorial spaces for us to consider.  Coinciding with each other and the edges of their patterned parameters, Zink’s shapes become floating planes, tilted doorways, bottomless windows, sharply lit blocks – almost, for they inevitably bump into or crash against the geometric purity, materiality, and exterior realness of the object.  

The resulting experience keeps us hopping uncomfortably between the two familiar comfort zones of abstraction – the interior real, or pictorial space, and the exterior real, or object space. Each challenges and undermines the other; a pattern of diagonals slides awkwardly into a dramatically elongated arcade; architectural blocks reform into a non-hierarchical series of trapezoids.  But the works never reduce to an op-art curiosity of abstraction: Zink doesn’t let his shapes and colors become unreal, brute facts, but keeps them peering into our world, our architecture, our space.  As Vasarely suggests, the natural coincidence of color and form lie at the heart of experience itself.  Brian Zink’s new work invites us into this heart, into his immense sensitivity to the life of form.