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Gregg Renfrow “Almost All My Life”

Oct 25 — Dec 16, 2023

Gregg Renfrow, Counting My Wanderings, 2023, polymer, pigment on cast acrylic, 48 x 48 inches

Gregg Renfrow
Almost All My Life
October 25 to December 16, 2023

1275 Minnesota Street, San Francisco

Nancy Toomey Fine Art is pleased to announce an exhibition of works by Gregg Renfrow titled Almost All My Life on view from October 25 to December 16, 2023. The gallery is located inside San Francisco’s Minnesota Street Project, 1275 Minnesota Street. Gallery hours are Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, 12pm to 4pm, and by appointment–please contact or 415-307-9038.

The public is invited to meet artist Gregg Renfrow at the gallery on Saturday, November 4, from 5pm to 7pm.

Gregg Renfrow, The Shade of Fentin-Latour, 2023, polymer, pigment on cast acrylic, 48 x 48 inches

The true end of Art is not to imitate a fixed material condition, but to represent a living motion.

-George Inness (1825-1894)

As the exhibition title Almost All My Life suggests, artist Gregg Renfrow has been working for most of his career on acrylic panels that allow light to filter through the pigment. Since 1982, Bay Area based Renfrow has been exploring and experimenting with light and color as the fertile field in which he deploys his materials and processes. Renfrow applies pigment dissolved in polymer medium to translucent sheets of cast acrylic. These hang unframed and slightly forward, allowing the passage of light through in both directions. The luminosity that ensues seems a kind of summoning of light through the medium of color–a conjuring of experience that we the viewer bring to the work as we physically experience it.

Gregg Renfrow, To Every End, 2023, polymer, pigment on cast acrylic, 21 x 18 inches

Through this process of pouring, Renfrow creates organic layers of overlapping colors that at times undulate, or create straighter areas of striated color fields. Set slightly off the wall, they create the luminous effect of light coming from behind them, or passing through them in a mysterious way. This abstract state of no depiction provides a graceful and calm atmosphere that encourages contemplation and the experience of pure seeing. The essence of being suggested by the pictorial space of these works dissolves the boundaries of color and form, light and spirit. As art critic Kenneth Baker commented, “Renfrow strikes a fine balance between describing and summoning light in paintings made of pigment-bathed, cast acrylic… these works find a resolution he has sought for years.”

Gregg Renfrow, Land of the Living, 2023, polymer, pigment on cast acrylic, 48 x 48 inches

“The Power of What,” writes Gregg Renfrow. “The subject of my paintings is always the viewer. The purpose of my paintings is presentation. I present color and form to the viewer within a matrix of light. The means of presentation is a constructed substrate of cast acrylic. The translucent picture plane is supported by a hanging rail (cast acrylic) which puts the painting surface slightly forward of the wall to summon light, which then quickens the color and form of the painting. The intention is to present an object which appears, in both form and placement, as a painting would. As the subject draws nearer to the painting/object, there is a liminal interval where expectations (regarding received notions of the ontology of painting) transform into curiosity, and then into engagement. This galvanizing effect activates the engaged viewer into a formation of an experience unique to that person–the subject–standing in front of the object. Light never stays still. Everything happens in light. Apprehension = Beauty. The state of play here in the studio is the dynamic relationship between opposites. Order and Chaos. Flow and Restraint. The field of color [the painting] consists in multiple translucent layers of color/glaze. The color/glaze is mixed to the viscosity of milk (there is always more color/glaze than necessary to cover the entire surface to be painted) and poured onto the picture plane/painting. The color/glaze is guided by gravity and the varying angles of the painting in relation to the horizontal. Most of the color/glaze ends up on the floor. When the color/glaze is set, the net result is a color halation of the faintest hue. This methodology is repeated until the painting is complete. The painting is complete when the desired hue relationships have taken form, according to established procedural and aesthetic formulations. Order + Chaos = Beauty.”

Gregg Renfrow, photo by Stephen Austin Welch

Gregg Renfrow received his BFA from San Francisco Art Institute and has exhibited both nationally and internationally since the mid-1970s. Renfrow lives and works in the SF Bay Area. His work is included in numerous private and public collections, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Oakland Museum, and Weisman Collection in Los Angeles.

Almost All My Life is Gregg Renfrow’s fifth solo show at Nancy Toomey Fine Art in San Francisco.



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