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Square Route: Geometric Works from the Collection

On View Friday, November 9, 2018–Sunday, March 31, 2019

West-end Gallery   

There are so many paths—or routes—that artists can take to bring viewers into their world. These artists, highlighted from our collection, lead us to a better understanding of how powerful minimal compositions can be. Too often the antonym of exciting is thought to be boring.  The works in this exhibition propose a more accurate statement—the antonym of exciting is soothing.  Artwork that does not engage the viewer with action has to take a more delicate and nuanced approach to captivate the viewer. Jackson Pollock and his Action Painting peers took advantage of the drama of scattered paint and bombastic forms—the viewer’s eyes get to dance around those compositions—but with artwork that leans towards minimalism with reduced and simplified forms, the viewer’s eyes are more rested and their brains are activated in different ways. 

Stories can be told and action can be conveyed through geometric forms.  Thomas Houston’s Yellow Stair 05, at first glance seems like a number of abstract forms and materials nestled into each other. Quickly the viewer comes to realize that the shapes make up a very convincing image of a stairwell.  Homogenous concrete and freshly painted handrails give the image a solid grounded feel.  This piece also evokes the feelings of quietness that tend to pervade concrete stairwells. 

Gerardo Tan’s Fall Start makes useful play of an irregular frame—a term often used to describe any painting that breaks away from rectilinear form.  The red square clearly seems to have resided in the lower right corner of the brown textured expanse which has a section missing. What narrative is happening here?  Was the red square brown before it migrated away? What do you think?