June 1, 2013

Triangular: Andrew Seto and Deborah Dancy

Isoceles, equilateral, scalene, right, obtuse, acute and equilateral. The humble triangles that we all studied in geometry figure prominently in contemporary abstraction, particularly in Andrew Seto and Deborah Dancy's recent work.

 Deborah Dancy, Burned Bridges and Other Misfortunes, 2013, oil on canvas, 48 x 48 inches.

Andrew Seto, MMM, 2013, oil on canvas, 11 3/4 x 15 3/4 inches.


In "Lazy Reader," London artist Andrew Seto's first NYC solo show at Theodore:Art, the outlined triangular forms are like puppets on a stage, coalescing into images of Modernist tabletop sculptures or congealing into densely textured shapes. Using a fat, loaded brush, Seto creates quirky, small-scale paintings that riff playfully on the dramas of everyday life.

When I asked Seto about his fondness for the triangle, he said he likes the vibrancy of the patterns they create, but also thinks the simple three-sided form is imbued with a kind of universality or perfection that metaphorically conveys beauty or truth.

"I find myself playing with, or upsetting, their order in drawings and paintings," Seto said. "Breaking one thing to discover something new. Positive spaces create negative spaces, and vice-versa. That visual interplay carves out a tension in the picture plane, even if the resulting dynamic is quiet or meditative. Essentially, I use them to explore pictorial space and to push through new images that resonate for me poetically. "

Andrew Seto, As You Are, 2013, oil on canvas,14 1/4 x 18 1/8 inches.

In "Chasing the Light" at Sears-Peyton, Deborah Dancy's trianglar forms are rooted in linear perspective, architecture, and the visual world. Last year, living in Florence, Dancy was drawn to the layers of history and the ubiquitous grids of scaffolding erected around ancient buildings and frescoes. Like the history of Florence itself, Dancy's linear forms blur and fade, obscuring older layers in the process of building the new. crisper structures.

 Deborah Dancy, Palladian Pink, 2013, oil on canvas, 50 x 50 inches

Overlaying loosely-painted, brightly-colored armatures over the more muted tertiaries of the underlying layers, Dancy lends her paintings a sense of the contemporary present. As I looked at her sublime, light-filled paintings, I couldn't help contemplating if, as time unfolds into the distant future, the Modernist grid and its sturdy cousin the triangle will eventually become rusty, faded relics of art history, too.

"Andrew Seto: Lazy Reader," Theodore: Art, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY. through June 16, 2013. 

"Deborah Dancy: Chasing the Light," Sears-Peyton, Chelsea, New York, NY. Through June 29, 2013.

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Related posts:
Deborah Muirhead's abstract paintings tell tales of early African-Americans (2007)
Inside the painter's head (2011)


5 comments:

Is there some reason to think that these could not have been done by ANYONE?

@anonymous:
Remember the old adage; if u can't say anything nice...
Besides, everyone Should paint!

Just because anyone can do something doesn't mean it's not worth doing. I personally think painting and most other art forms are about creating a bridge from the inner world of thoughts and emotions to the outer concrete reality. It's not necessarily saying "Ooh look at me I'm such an awesome artist that I can create something that most people can't." It's saying "This is the image that I want to show to the world."

I am not sure everyone could do this. Look at the subtelties, the gardations between colors, the way the composition holds together. At least it has a satisfying effect on me, almost a physical one, like eating something good, or feeling the heat of the sun or embracing a beloved being, maybe due in part to the physicality of the paint, the warmth of some of the colors, the combination of definite marks with vivid, but more watery
patches.

During a presentation that included drawings by de kooning I had students comment that anyone could do that. I let them try, no one was even close. Walk the walk, talk is cheap.