Currently up at Mark Wolfe Contemporary Art is a show to overcome some of those summertime art world blahs. “Surfacing,” a group show of three painters: Matt Mignanelli, Dominic Paul Moore, and Russell Tyler, all working in a formal manner that takes an uncomplicated approach to the medium, with an emphasis on brushwork, color, and design. Matt Mignanelli remains the stand alone with the cool finish of his cubed monochromatic pieces. The least painterly and most graphic of the three, the textural quality of the gloss and matte paint, heightened by the monotone, makes it at home with the textural characteristics of the other works.
Russell Tyler paintings of grey scale, or shades of color muted to their most greyish mauves and beiges, have a heavy impasto build up sculpting the canvas into blocky gradients illuminated by the brightest neon and sunset hues behind the wall of paint he builds upon it. Striking cracks of bright background paint slice through, creating a visceral tension to the work, the seeming offhandness of the paint application confused by the delicate and precise handling of these little glimmers of what is easily interpreted as light.
Similar in this devotion to the superficial, formal qualities of the medium, are Dominic Paul Moore’s pieces. Dotted by a seemingly signature black squiggle of paint, his paintings defy assumptions about abstract art as either uncalculated beautiful mess, or structural habitats of artificial boundaries. Looking at his work, each painstaking decision becomes clear, the tightness and overall restraint telling of all the choices decided against.
This mode of abstraction feels at home with a new wave of painters, identified on the East Coast as New Casualists, but really a larger concept and approach to painting that aims to for a balance of precision and off-handedness, the tension achieved when done right comes across as a punch line; less about the universality modern art was obsessed in achieving, but more of a democratized aesthetic content. It’s a refreshing turn from strong hold the conceptual has had on contemporary art for decades now.
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-Contributed by Kathryn McKinney