October 16, 2008

Anders Oinonen: An intuitive society of forms

In Artforum, critic Sean Carrol singles out Anders Oinonen's show at Houston's CTRL Gallery this month. When I was in Miami last year, Oinonen's work stood out for it's easygoing oddness; it's good to see him get an endorsement. "Bewilderment and tension give way to calm and understanding when looking at Toronto-based painter Anders Oinonen’s canvases. With an advanced understanding of composition and movement, he delicately places simple, recognizable elements into his paintings like time-release capsules. Oinonen provides a comfortable balance of color that's dominated by pastel violets and greens, but with punches of hot pink, neon red, and aqua. Having as much to do with Abstract Expressionism as the interplay of characters in a Raphael fresco, the artist uses the edges of the picture plane and his center of attention to focus on conscious and unconscious assumptions about images. In bright brushstrokes, a human face is built up in planes, vibrating between flatness and perspectival space in uncanny ways. Painterly washes compliment opaque geometric shapes; each forms part of a distinctive visage. One may recognize eyes, noses, and mouths depicted from imaginative angles almost immediately, or the shapes may build up slowly in the mind to form a three-dimensional model out of interlocking planar surfaces, as in the forlorn 'Lay of the Land' (all works 2008). In works like 'Longbeach,' Oinonen drops the literality of a snapshot-style portrait for the deft interplay of abstraction; the apparition becomes an intuitive society of forms, a way of fretting about the state of the world. 'Sunstack' seems as if the landscape and the characters from a Carroll Dunham painting have merged into a solid, modular structure. Like Incan abstraction or the stone walls of Machu Picchu, Oinonen’s paintings require adaptation and improvisation of those searching for a perfect fit. They drive at Walter Hopps’s 'imagist' category of painting yet remain indifferent to both coolness and the rules." Read more October Artforum Critics' Picks.

"Anders Oinonen: After After," CTRL Gallery, Houston, TX. Through Oct. 25.

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