Comprised of colorfully rich abstract paintings executed between 2011 and 2012, Evan Levine’s new work explores the potential of composition, mark making and light, using the artist’s distinctive personal handwriting.
The exhibition features a selection of smaller-scaled canvases created during the same time period in which 80 x 80 inch squares were cvolving. Each of the larger works originate respectively from one of the smaller studies with a focus on building up color and clarifying imagery until there is a clear sense of weight and presence…“sometimes playful, exuberant, the shapes have individual characters- character.”
Levine’s paintings bring to mind familiar modes of modernist geometric paintings, outsider art, neo-geo painting, cartoons, early video games, textile patterns, children’s picture books, decorative rugs, and other various allusions to (pop) culture.
The work, however, is littered with contradiction and exploitation. Though the artist’s mark making appears like fringy folk art, the seemingly intuitive process used by the artist is grounded in very strategic compositional and tonal choices. Re-examining these small works on a larger scale serves several purposes. It allows the artist to magnify and inject nuances, random elements, blurred colors (like black blurring into wet white pigment causing slightly varying shades of gray) and specks of colors that remain underneath the built up surfaces of the small works.
Levine succeeds in finding ways to combat the mechanical nature of his working method by challenging the purity of basic images with carefully chosen dots and patterns. This serves to break up the solidity of a potentially overly graphic image effect that could otherwise result. The paintings remain ultimately handmade, created without the use of a straightedge or tape. The pictographic, symbol like forms arise from the artists own linguistic enterprise in which hand drawn pattern and repetition, physical qualities of paint surface, create interconnected systems where shapes, dots, and lines often start from one part of the canvas and pass through, under, and over other shapes as part of a process of figure- ground experimentation.
Evan Levine (b. 1984 New Haven, CT) received a MFA from Yale University in New Haven, CT and a BFA from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY.
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After the Fact : Paintings for Coco
June 6 - July 14, 2012