Contributed by Sharon Butler / Tom McGlynn’s enigmatically reductive paintings are a study in subtle contrasts between systematization and autonomy, order and disarray. Horizontal rectangles of various sizes and colors are rendered on a monochromatic surface, each with immaculately straight edges and carefully painted a solid color. Yet these shapes, while neat and precise in themselves, purposefully lack an organizing device, such as a grid or spatial symmetry. Accordingly, the playful, unstructured way in which they are positioned seems entirely intuitive. Created with muted brushwork in unexpected color combinations, the geometric units float and bob, hovering on the surface of the panel.
The shapes aren’t symbolic, and they don’t conjure a discrete narrative about internal relationships. But they do provide some evidence of this artist’s specific intention and process. His very determination to untether geometric shapes from overarching structures frees viewers to assign a wide range of meanings to the rectangles – as road signage, faces, packaging labels, decals, text blocks, or even aspects of the history of abstract painting. His work is eloquently succinct testimony to the power of individuality and freedom.
“Tom McGlynn: Station / Decal / Survey,” Rick Wester Fine Arts, Chelsea, New York, NY. Through December 23, 2017.