Gabriele Evertz, Red + the Spectrum (2008)
Lately I have become interested in contemporary abstract painters who make abstraction the subject of their work. These artists, often through variations of hard-edged color contrasts, do more than merely "abstract" the visible world. They concern themselves with pushing abstraction's formal potential. Thornton Willis, one of these artists, just completed his latest run at Elizabeth Harris Gallery; I wrote the catalogue essay for the show (and participated in a video profile of the artist). James Little will open at June Kelly in Chelsea on May 7. Consider my calendar marked.
This past month, a four-person exhibition called "Color Exchange: Berlin/New York" has been on view at Metaphor Contemporary Art in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. This will be the show's final weekend. Catch it if you can.
I went to Metaphor to see the work of the Berlin-born Gabriele Evertz, a scholar of color and line. The three other painters in this show, all accomplished, use abstraction for its allusive depth: Julian Jackson makes cinematic flashes and gauzy colored landscapes; Susanne Jung offers up austere monochromes that read like blizzard whiteouts, Gabriele Schade-Hasenberg builds up glazed surfaces that obscure secrets beneath. Evertz's work, however, operates entirely on the surface through an interplay of dominant and recessive colors and the width and angle of lines. It reaches out, rather than pulling you in. Seen in person these paintings come alive through intense harmonic disturbances. Evertz pushes color's potential in new and interesting ways. I've never encountered anything quite like it. The term "Op Art" would not do it justice. Her Red and the Spectrum (2008), five feet square and the largest work in the show, is a sublime visual terror (you can see what it looks like above, but be aware that this painting's optical effects do not work in reproduction). This user-driven art is activated entirely by the sense of sight, and supremely accomplished. It deserves to be seen in person.