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Hard-Edge Abstraction:
Paintings and Works on Paper

January 20 - February 22, 2014

Matthew Deleget painting

Matthew Deleget, Shuffle (for Pete "El Conde" Rodriguez), 2010,
acrylic and fluorescent acrylic on mdf, 18 x 18 inches

 

My first encounter with hard-edge abstraction was as an undergraduate student seeing a large geometric painting by Ellsworth Kelly at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. I remember having a visceral reaction to the primary/secondary/primary colors in Red Green Blue, and the vibrating rectangular edges within the painting made my eyes fatigued from tension. My mind strained to understand the saturated cadmium orange-red against the intense primary green next to the electric blue.

The painting intrigued me, not because I had studied its art historical context or underlying conceptual framework (this important research would come later) or because I was aware of the artist’s intentions at the time, but rather for the powerful sensory experience of simply viewing the painting. Some twenty years later, this experience, and others like it in response to reductive, color-based artwork, continues to fascinate me and influence my practice as an artist and professor of art. One of my courses, Color, which will be offered in the spring of 2014, focuses on chromatic interactions and is based in part on the distinguished work and teaching of Josef Albers.

Kasarian Dane
associate professor of art and art history

 


Works by the contemporary artists in the exhibition share certain similar qualities: strong, crisp edges; the interaction of contrasting colors; and clean, decisive execution. Several mid- to late 20th-century prints and works on paper from St. Lawrence University’s permanent collection by Josef Albers, Richard Anuszkiewicz, Herbert Bayer, Ilya Bolotowsky, Allan D’Arcangelo, Bridget Riley and Jack Youngerman are also on display.

 

Matthew Deleget painting

Matthew Deleget, Shuffle (for Celia Cruz), 2010,
acrylic and fluorescent acrylic on mdf, 18 x 18 inches

Note: Featured here are two paintings by Matthew Deleget from his Shuffle series (2010), informed by the “shuffle” feature on his iPod. Each painting consists of a checkered grid of four colors selected at random. Made of fluorescent, metallic and iridescent acrylic paints on thin archival Masonite panels, the works are inspired by the legendary salsa ensemble Fania All Stars. Each painting pays homage to a musician in the group, including Johnny Pacheco, Hector Lavoe, Celia Cruz, Ray Barretto and Larry Harlow, among others.