Jul 30 — Oct 10, 2020
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SLATE contemporary is pleased to present Color Fields, featuring painting by Juan Alonso-Rodríguez and photography by Carol Inez Charney. While working in two different mediums, Alonso-Rodríguez and Charney both address the expansive nature of color, light, and space.
The exhibition’s title references the Color Field painting movement of the 1950s and 60s, which anchored compositions around large, immersive fields of color and illusions of deep space. The aim of Color Field painters was not to emphasize images, brush strokes, or impasto, but rather to create a swath of color that was sensory and immaterial. In the work of Mark Rothko, Helen Frankenthaler, and Morris Louis, to name only a few, paint was thinned to the point that instead of sitting on top of the canvas, it was absorbed by it, staining it without changing its texture or dimension. Thinning also allowed the paint to respond to gravity, and to create additive effects with multiple overlapping translucent layers.
While the artists that SLATE is presenting do not adhere strictly to this tradition, there are core elements of their work that are informed by, and resonate with it. Alonso-Rodríguez works in acrylic on unprimed canvas for his series “Pattern & Flow,” in which he allows multiple layers of thin but saturated color to blend, drip and flow into one another. Charney approaches photography with a similar sensibility, using moving water as a filter to visually dissolve colored prints hanging in her studio. Indeed, the gravitational movement of material is a particular focus of both artists, who play with this natural force, allowing it to act of its own accord, while also manipulating and mitigating its effects in various ways. Alonso-Rodríguez flips his canvases in different directions when working, so that the paint moves, runs into itself, or stops at a precise moment. Charney carefully designs the patterning of liquid on glass using thickeners, resist, and a dance against time. Both artists are allowing a degree of chance, as paint and water move with their own agency, while still carefully controlling the resulting forms according to their artistic intent.