Saturday, May 05, 2012
Orange Light 2011 - Acylic on Canvas on Panel - 16x20 inches
My art review repost at ModernHouston.net back in January 2012.
If you want to see paintings about painting and what the paint can do, look no further than Pat Colville's show at Moody Gallery. To be honest, I wasn't sure I liked the work when I first encountered it. I thought the work might be derivative of many other painters or the paintings might be on the edge of the classic decorative abstraction. But I was wrong, because something kept pulling me back and forcing me to look and re-look again. Now I am ashamed I even ventured to think those silly notions. Why are these paintings of Colville such accomplishments? I think the combination of elements really helps to make a powerful final composition. The thick lines in the honey comb designs assert themselves as saying, “I am a painting, not a drawing.” Also the texture in the background gives attention to how paint reacts to a built up surface and the background is not minimal or static, but active and flowing.
A painting like “Orange Light,” reminds me of Philip Guston’s work, but most of the painting is happening off the canvas, stage left. Everything feels informal, thick with paint, and a little off the cuff, but I am sure that the work is really quite deliberate. Take away any of these elements of variety and I think the works might fail, but that is a great place for an artist. Colville is on the edge of complete success or total downfall. I’m going to have to rant a bit about really bad decorative abstract. So much of this junk is out there that it sometimes makes me second guess the good stuff. You know the kind, earth tones, repeat of pattern, atmospheric background or just all over cloudy look. A kind of abstract art that is completely safe and sterile.
Thankfully, Colville isn’t in the safe category. The colors are odd, there is a hint of child like wonder without overtly spelling it out, and these paintings really feel like they are about something. As I said before, they are about the idea of painting in all its glory and pleasure of brush strokes. These works are so tasty. Feast your eyes on Pat Colville’s New Work at Moody Gallery, up until January 4th.
For more images from the show visit ModernHouston.net.