Sunday, March 03, 2013

RICARDO PANIAGUA at RE Gallery + studio

"AL-113" - Media Poly Chromed Cast Resin
7.5"x10"x1.5" repost.

The Cedars neighborhood has a history of visual art outposts that have cropped up and made south of I30 an interesting place to visit. RE gallery + studio has converted an old shotgun style house into a rustic and intimate space that is inviting, and tonight they open with new works of the prolific, colorful artist Ricardo Paniagua.

When I came to the gallery Thursday, Paniagua was installing the show. Each work was still packed up and lying on the floor. As he unpacked each piece, I felt like I was having a second Christmas. Though this was a series of work, each was like a little experiment. The premise to each piece was that he used resin that was pressed with various types of tin foil to create patterns and textures. Most of the art work was mounted on thick particle wood material. Some were painted, others were just pure color resin, and I recall one wasn’t even mounted. The treatment of the surface ranged from pieces with caked on paint to art works using smooth transition of colors. When Paniagua hung the pieces on the wall, a few of them glowed around the edges from the flamboyant paint he used.

I say these are experiments, because any number of Paniagua’s 34, 7 inch by 10 inch pieces could be a new direction for the next few years. If you are familiar with his past work, he is known for splashy large paintings that use hard edge monumental and minimal images that accompany a kind of action painting background. His cube sculptures have been popping up in different group shows too. These works are also hard edge and are musings on cube forms and geometric relationships. A little HJ Bott, a little MADI and plenty of Paniagua, these works were really quite formal. But those ideas seem to have only crept into some of these small works at RE gallery. The surface has become Paniagua’s muse, and geometry is incidental. Hills and valleys of texture are created through his process, and his painting is a reaction to the process. He is attempting to create an object/painting that looks like it is wrapped in an animal skin or a topographical map surface. One piece reminds me of the tin foil wrapper over a frozen food dinner. I think his method of mounting the resin to another material makes these works more related to paintings. Maybe a more seamless transition from mount to resin would strengthen his objective to expand the conversation on the object/painting subject.

Ricardo Paniagua has taken all kinds of risks in these works. Some, I imagine, will not lead very far in his future work, but many will become his transitional pieces that will inform all new bodies of work. RE gallery will be the place to be Friday night and I believe Paniague will continue to surprise us with these new artistic developments. Ricardo Paniagua’s show “Champ” opens tonight and goes through February 1st. for more images

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