This is the second in a continuing series of reviews from the periodical New American Paintings, a juried exhibition-in-print. You can read other reviews of New American Paintings by clicking through.
Issue #51 May 2004 featured artists from the Mid-Atlantic region. Tim McFarlane resides in Philadelphia and won place in the publication for his perpendicularly composed non-objective paintings. At left you see the addition of a bundle of white on top of the background of rather thick stripes, forming a new direction from his works four years ago. I feel like I am seeing a union of Ellsworth Kelly and Brice Marden when I view his current works. The carefully constructed backgrounds have now been disrupted, interrupted by gaggles of milky color, interference. There is a distinct separation between the viewer, the front fog, and the rear landscape. One could also perceive this work looking from the top down. This abstraction provides endless possibilities for self-reflection. Are we presented with an opportunity to unravel the knots we have in front of us, have we just viciously thrown our chess pieces all over the board and created a dust storm? Is this a quiet contemplation for chaos existing within reason? If you take some time to explore McFarlane’s site you’ll be able to compare his works and make determination for yourself. Personally, this work for me reflects a larger conscious that is frustrated with the state of affairs in the world today. Logic and order reside somewhere though it feels that we are all faced with the task of taking dust brush and pan and cleaning up as much as we can first. We simply cannot move forward into the clarity until we are faced with heating off the fog.
Dave Bown was a winner in issue #52 June 2004, a survey of the Southern states. His winning pieces were acrylic on shaped board, magnifications of American Express gold cards and the Seal of the Department of the Treasury from a one dollar bill. The boards were in the silhouettes of Monopoly houses. As you can see, his current works (one at right) are much different. They are smaller, about the size of a piece of writing paper. Exquisitely vivid as opposed to the limited scheme of gold, green, and black. Have we transcended capitalism here and moved into a more light focused realm? I really favor the current work section on his website, with the graph paper compositions up top and the saturated works below. A presentation of both the skeleton and full sized children an artist has created. Playing with perspective in both styles, an almost neo-Cubist-abstraction of math, as the artist himself states that these oscillations are the result of algorithms and derived coordinates from Phi. A real examination of nature’s beauty and natural disposition to fall into measurements and offshoots of the Golden Ratio. As one’s eye begins to play with the terminal points of the coordinates, the acute angle formations to create triangular juts, we create a dynamic set of implied shapes, triangular blanks that hover above the actual image. His color balance places him as an artist’s artist, someone who really understands the importance of color theory and its application.