Portland art blog + news + exhibition reviews + galleries + contemporary northwest art

recent entries

Resist: Inauguration at Una Gallery
Early February links
First Thursday Picks February 2017
Dead tree media & dead horse flogging news
Post Snowpocalypse Weekend Picks
More Disjecta'd
New Year opportunities
Monday Integrity Links
First Thursday Picks January 2017
Jason Berlin + Alanna Risse at Rainmaker
Saying goodby to 2016
Mid December Links

recent comments

categories

 

Book Review
Calls for Artists
Design Review
Essays
Interviews
News
Openings & Events
Photoblogs
Reviews
Video
Links
About PORT

regular contributors

 

Tori Abernathy
Amy Bernstein
Katherine Bovee
Emily Cappa
Patrick Collier
Arcy Douglass
Megan Driscoll
Jesse Hayward
Sarah Henderson
Jeff Jahn
Kelly Kutchko
Drew Lenihan
Victor Maldonado
Christopher Moon
Jascha Owens
Alex Rauch
Gary Wiseman

archives

 

Guest Contributors
Past Contributors
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005

contact us

 

Contact us

search

 


syndicate

 

Atom
RSS

powered by

 

Movable Type 3.16

This site is licensed under a

 

Creative Commons License

Friday 04.02.10

« artists wanted | Main | The Humorous Mystic: Midori Hirose at Nationale »

Victor Maldonado at Froelick Gallery

Gate_Full_maladanado_SM.jpg
Victor Madonado's Gate at Froelick Gallery

A near ever present stalwart in the Portland art scene Victor Maldonado's "Less" at Froelick Gallery shows the artist moving beyond the general influence of his MFA at the Art Institute of Chicago and Sigmar Polke and more into his own voice (which springs from a personality that is persistent, curious and energetic). Moreover, it's a sly game of optics, funny formal elements and his trademark consumer commentary... only way more subtle and successful than before. As one of the brightest painters in Portland, it seems like it has taken him a while to integrate all that thinking into something, but now it has gelled. Ironically, "Less" is Maldonado's breakout show on all levels, conceptually, coherently and from all the chatter this show is generating, critically. All this is good as painters typically don't hit their full stride until their 30's or 40's, another of Portland's defining characteristics; artists here are actually allowed decades to develop (New York and LA not so much, although "develop" is a synonym for "struggle").

Green_Screens_maldonado_sm.jpg
Green Screen Series

Technically, the green monochrome format of "Less" takes the onus off of painterly theatrics and comes of as a great leveler. Instead of showing us every trick he can pull off in each painting (lots of abstractionists make that mistake) Maldonado creates a field of green with unpredictable golden disruptions. Because each panel is just an element in that field, each work individually and collectively supports one another. In essence, it is a community effort and the verdant green, each with its own unique mist of gold highlights asks the viewers to pay attention to minutiae and their own position in relation to the work. Technically there is no standardization in this community of monochrome green works. The effect is not unlike Agnes Martin's lines, Alber's collective color harmonies or Brice Marden's earlier more surface oriented monochromes.

Green_Screen_Detail_sm.jpg
Green Screen (detail)

In Maldonado's Green Screen Series, we are treated to a rhythmic pyramid of green rectangles that remind me of those stacks of televisions you would see before flat screen technology. They also spatially invert the corner they occupy while suggesting space that recedes beyond the wall, not unlike Wile E. Coyote painting a tunnel in perspective on a boulder. The field of rectangles also remind me of the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin or any stack of boxes for that matter. The point probably being that one can project anything you want onto these "green screens" not unlike what late night talk show hosts like Conan O Brian and Craig Ferguson often do for skits (it was actually Jon Stewart's short running talk show on MTV that first made extensive use of them). Of course one could also make a case for some sort of Jules Olitski reference with all of the golden reflective elements if you wanted as well. Overall a very well executed, open ended and intriguing presentation.

Maldonado_Gate_SM.jpg
Gate (detail)

But it is "Gate" that is the showstopper. Here the large 4 panel painting trades the amorphous golden iridescence of the green screens for a fishnet webbing of cyclone fence-like patterns across its surface. To make it even more "gate like" the painting rests on the floor. It's both funny and effective, essentially asking the viewer to see it as a visual field and a metaphor for the gates of perception. Because the gold is only discernable at certain angles the piece asks viewers to do a kind of kinesthetic dance to experience the work form many angles. In many ways it behaves a bit like Rudolf Stingel's Brocade series... with its relentless pattern and interrupted sheen but this is much less cheeky. Frankly this is a painting I could live with... I like it that much.

Overall, "Less" is a breakout exhibition that demonstrates why group shows are often so unsatisfying by comparison to a good solo effort. Just stop in and contemplate these two magnificent arrays and you wont be sorry. "Less" may be a commentary on the misnomer and easy to ape "look" of minimalism but it comes off as satisfyingly complex by demonstrating how grounded it is in extremely good decision making. Thus, "Less" is not about the end product so much as the commitment to focused exploration with a dose of open ended poetry for good measure... ironically making the final result more porous and available for the viewer to complete and contemplate.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on April 02, 2010 at 14:57 | Comments (0)


Comments

Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


Remember me?


s p o n s o r s
Site Design: Jennifer Armbrust   •   Site Development: Philippe Blanc & Katherine Bovee