Friday, December 11, 2009

Anoka Faruqee at Hosfelt Gallery

Anoka Faruqee had a phenomenal exhibition at Hosfelt Gallery from Feb 22- April 5, 2008 - there is not anyone working quite like her in the field of painting that so intersects with systems, process, the conceptual, and especially color mixing. I like using the word phenomenal as her work is based on these phenomena and others. In the color process, I was reminded of animation work where color mixing is a highly developed skill and how Anoka is certainly self taught in this respect as tube colors predominate nowadays for most painters and color mixing is hardly taught in art schools. The paintings reproduced from the gallery show are two of the most recent "Fade" Paintings. It is hard to reproduce the effect of them standing before them as they were large enough to sense oneself immersed in them with the field a shimmering distance. Coming for a closer look and seeing the pixels as Faruqee has dubbed them, with red underpainting aggressively poking through, mutating in freehand over the canvas in all kinds of directions, baffling grid or pattern on a very subtle basis. I am reminded that for Seurat and Monet science, optics and color were intricately linked and explored through the most current technology of the time - here is an artist whose paintings are a contemporary analogue to this kind of painstaking practice to a surprisingly organic effect. Textiles, the history of tiling, Op Art, and opulence itself come to mind.

Here is an excerpt from the press release:

In her “Fade” paintings, patterns of hand-made pixels appear to fade
away or disappear into the painting’s ground color. The effect is
like viewing a pattern through a spill of translucent color. Or
looking through a shifting, colored fog. Despite the immediate
gestalt, the impression is created one handmade “pixel” at a time --
Faruqee mixes more than a hundred subtly shifting colors to create
her illusions. Visually, the paintings refer to the modular
geometry of Islamic tile work, pixilation of digital information,
1960’s optical painting and the haze of Los Angeles. But the work is
firmly rooted in the systems of early conceptual art.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Precedents for Op Art

From Susan Meller's and Joost Elffers encyclopedic book Textile Designs: Two Hundred Years of European and American Patterns Organized by Motif, Style, Color, Layout, and Period, pages 194 and 195:

"The distorted-looking images in these optical prints may seem to have been inspired by the paintings of twentieth century artists like Bridget Riley and Victor Vasereley, but all of the examples here, except for number 3, were produced decades before. Designs resembling modern Op Art actually predate the modern printing industry altogether, for they arise easily from the grid imposed by loom weaving.