Roy Dowell and Richard Kalina: Standing their ground

Roy Dowell, Untitled #1090, 2016, acrylic on linen, 36 x 24 inches

Contributed by Marjorie Welish / “Synchronicity: A State of Painting” an exhibition featuring work by Roy Dowell and Richard Kalina, on view at Lennon, Weinberg through December 23, demonstrates that two artists standing their aesthetic ground can produce an uncommonly interesting pairing and debate. Though these two artists both have a schematic approach, their diagrammatic abstractions are situated in cultural contexts quite antithetical to each other and so create different worlds.

Richard Kalina, Parameter 2, 2016, oil on linen, 45 x 24 inches

Roy Dowell’s is a mythopoesis nurtured through a modernism of archaic forms without parody, informed through tribal arts, the zone inhabited by early 20th-century artists and mid-century artists alike. Dowell’s images recall the aspirations of early Barnett Newman and Cy Twombly, and more recently those of Helmut Federle.  Dowell favors informality that has absorbed an abundance of visual experience.

Roy Dowell, Untitled #1083, 2015, acrylic on linen, 36 x 24 inches

Richard Kalina’s arena is a tactical surface of combinations nurtured through operations worked out in advanced; and his abiding pursuit of asymmetrical structures within implied symmetry relates to a visual programming of information and games. Oyvind Fahlstrom would be a tutelary spirit here: Kalina’s riddling mazes conjure the visual enigma that Fahlstrom generated with decontextualized systems and  Valerie Jaudon explores with psuedo-Islamic symbol forms. At the same time, the shrewd intensity with which Kalina works the silhouettes produces a content of startling disruption worthy of Kara Walker. Things are not what they seem.

This two-person show is worth the time precisely because the conjunction of the two artists’ work is not tastefully compatible.

Richard Kalina, Sector 3, 2017, oil on linen, 39 x 34-1/2 inches
Roy Dowell, Untitled #1097, 2016, acrylic on linen, 36 x 24 inches

Artist biographies (from the press release):

Roy Dowell was born in Bronxville, NY in 1951. He received an MFA at CalArts in 1975. His work is included in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum, the Hammer Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Berkeley Museum of Art, Oakland Museum, Jumex Collection, Eli Broad, and many other significant institutional and private collections.

Richard Kalina was born in New York City in 1946 and studied at the University of Pennsylvania. His works are included in museum collections such as the Arkansas Art Center, Grey Art Gallery, Guild Hall Museum, Fogg Art Museum, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Milwaukee Art Museum, Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, National Museum of American Art, Norton Gallery, Parrish Museum, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Rutgers University Art Museum, the Wadsworth Atheneum and Yale University Art Gallery.

Dowell & Kalina, installation view

Roy Dowell and Richard Kalina: Synchronicity: A State of Painting,”  Lennon, Weinberg, Inc., Chelsea, New York, NY. Through December 23, 2017.

About the author: Painter and art critic  Marjorie Welish  has received many grants and fellowships, including those from the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, Guggenheim Foundation, and Pollock-Krasner Foundation. She has had recent shows at Emanuel von Baeyer Cabinet, London, and La Terrasse, Nanterre.

Related posts:
Chelsea Picks, 17th to 25th Streets
Abstraction is not a cul-de-sac”
Sense and sensibility at Lennon, Weinberg

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