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NonObjective December 14 - January 14, 2017


Thirteen Painters Curated by James Hayward


Non-Objective

NonObjective December 14 - January 14, 2017


Non-Objective

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The Tao of Abstration

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“What’s it all about, Jimmy?”

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Scot Heywood

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Dedication

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Kristin Beinner James

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John Miller

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Penelope Krebs

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Edith Baumann

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Allison Miller

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Daniel Mendel-Black

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Ed Moses

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Meg Cranston

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Michael Reafsnyder

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James Hayward

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Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe

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Patrick Tobias


Non-Objective | The Tao of Abstraction

The Tao of Abstraction Abstract and nonobjective painting has only been possible for about a hundred years. “It’s in its infancy,” said Brice Marden in 1987, conjuring a future as rich and boundless as the past was for representational art. Its origin was once thought to be in Wassily Kandinsky’s First Abstract Watercolor, which the artist dated 1910 but later art historical scholarship proved to be 1913. Nonobjective painting appeared simultaneously, between 1910 and 1912, in France, Germany, Russia, and the United States. Los Angeles was an early incubator of abstraction, introduced in 1919 by painter Stanton MacDonald-Wright upon his return to his hometown of Santa Monica. While studying painting and color theory in Paris in 1911, MacDonald-Wright and fellow American Morgan Russell founded the synchromist movement, one of the first groups of artists dedicated to nonobjective art. Aspiring to the condition of music, their paintings’ lyrical color harmonies create purely abstract dynamics that spiral or thrust to crescendo.

Not known for painting—much less abstract painting—Los Angeles has a nearly unbroken history of the practice (spotty only in the 1930s, when MacDonald-Wright himself, the Director of the WPA Federal Art Project in Southern California, forbade abstraction in government-funded murals). Less visible than crowd-pleasing representational art, abstract painting was widely practiced nevertheless in studios throughout the region. Each exhibition that was premised on abstract painting’s healthy prognosis assumed landmark status to partisan painters and critics (like me). Four Abstract Classicists, which opened at the Los Angeles County Museum at Exposition Park in 1959, included John McLaughlin and Lorser Feitelson (both born in 1898) and the younger Frederick Hammersley and Karl Benjamin.

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Los Angeles critic Jules Langsner, a longtime proponent of the artists, contributed the superbly thoughtful catalogue essay, which has become one of abstract painting’s defining texts. Langsner coined the term “hard-edge painting” (but lost the argument for it as the show’s title), in which “forms are finite, flat, rimmed by a hard clean edge,” in contrast to the “fuzzy” paintings of the abstract expressionists. When Four Abstract Classicists traveled to London, curator Lawrence Alloway retitled it West Coast Hard-Edge, a denotation that appeared on the cover of the reprinted catalogue. In his 1966 essay for Systemic Painting at the Guggenheim Museum, Alloway acknowledged the debt owed by much better known hard-edge painters in New York (Kelly, Stella, Marden, Mangold, Novros, et al.) to the Los Angeles group.


Non-Objective | The Tao of Abstraction

For the next two decades, the critical and curatorial juice in Los Angeles was absorbed by the third dimension, produced by colored plastic and artificial light. The noncommercial arts that followed—video, performance, and conceptual art—were the focus of alternative spaces all over the country, and nowhere more than at the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art. Under the direction of Bob Smith, LAICA was surprisingly supportive of nonobjective artists, mounting several memorable shows, including James Hayward, Peter Lodato, John McLaughlin and Abstraction 1980. At LAICA’s short-lived downtown space, Abstraction 1980 included five young painters—three of whom now appear in Non Objective—selected by Hayward, who had even then become an impresario of abstraction. Hayward and John M. Miller were included in the unfortunately titled Changing Trends: Content and Style, which examined the so-called “return to painting” in neoexpressionism and nonobjective painting. Given the theme of the show, abstraction looked solid and steady next to the capricious new painting. Perhaps “abstract classicism” is not so misleading or imprecise a term after all, in its implications of tradition, continuity, and the unflagging quality of classical art (the period of Pollock’s great drip paintings, 1948-50, is known as his “classic” phase). Nonobjective painting today, whether hard-edge or fuzzy, is not a style but a way of thinking about the world through rectangle, color, and plane. How does the brush contact—touch, smack, tickle, attack, sweep, stroke, limn, or prick—the flat surface? How is that flat surface restructured by intuitive gesture or rational grid, time after time, infinitely? How does the paint-material compress or expand the spatial dimensions in front of, on top of, or behind the plane? The thirteen artists in Non Objective offer compelling answers and additional questions, confirming the viability and fertility of their art.

- Frances Colpitt

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Non-Objective | “What’s it all about, Jimmy?”

“What’s it all about, Jimmy?” I curated my first painting exhibition in 1976. LAICA, L.A.’s first alternative space, had just opened, “The Sports Paintings of Andy Warhol and Leroy Neiman”. I went nuts; alternative my ass! The director, Bob Smith, attempting to placate me, invited me to curate a show. I did two outsider painters, “Ed Newell & Louis Palmer”. Then I got serious and did, “Five Abstract Painters: Baumann, Heywood, Krebs, Wayne, Westfall”. AlanbWayne has passed. Stephen Westfall is now a major art critic in New York City. Edith, Scot and Penny are in this show. I love the continuity. This group of painters is the best I have ever assembled. The last time I ever spoke with John Miller, it was about being in this show. John was pleased that it wasn’t until December, saying “I’ll have time to make a couple of small diptychs”. We never had a chance to speak again. I had known John since college. We did our first two man show at The College of Creative Studies in 1975. We did a great many shows together over the years. I want to dedicate this last such outing to our dear departed friend, John M. Miller. My relationship with Ed Moses goes back almost as far. We have spent countless hours amusing one another. I brought him Italian cookies earlier today. His new paintings are little masterpieces; hybrids of Morandi, Guston, Mitchell and his own skill, finesse and rejection of such. Jeremy and I have been engaged in heady art dialogues for four decades now. Were he not so well known as an art critic and historian, I am certain he would be one of the most admired painters about. He is truly unique. I see him as our Poussin. I have shown the paintings of Edith, Scot, Penny, Daniel, Michael and Allison in prior exhibitions. All are masters of the form. This is the first time I have shown Kristin, Meg and Patrick. I am blessed to live with the work of most of these painters. Truly blessed. I am looking forward to seeing this body of work hanging together this December at Telluride Gallery of Fine Art. This will be a fantastic show. Special thanks to Ashley, Michael, Barbel, Malarie, Christin and Drew.

- James Hayward 3


Non-Objective | Dedication

This exhibition is dedicated to the memory of one of its participants, the painter John M. Miller (1939-2016), who passed away during its preparation. Miller’s hard-edged abstract paintings, helped shape the story of Los Angeles Minimalism. He was an inspiration and a friend to many of the artists in the exhibition.

- Ashley Hayward

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Non-Objective | John Miller

In Memoriam: John M. Miller For more than four decades, John M. Miller devoted himself to creating abstract paintings that are as rigorous and demanding as they are beautiful. From one work to the next he explored a single compositional format: a rhythmic structure of hard-edged diagonal bars of color on raw canvas. From 1973 until his death in November 2016, he never abandoned this deceptively simple structure; making only subtle adjustments to the color, placement, size and proportions of its elements, he achieved surprisingly dramatic differences in how the overall structure is perceived. Miller’s paintings are engaging perceptual puzzles that disclose their secrets slowly. With extended viewing, the bars that initially appear to be dark black in many of his works reveal their true colors—rich, closely valued shades of deep red, blue, green or violet. Miller was also attracted to bright whites and sparkling, golden ochre hues, and among his most compelling paintings are compositions in which panels carrying bars in those luminous shades are juxtaposed with others bearing bars tinted in deeper tones. Suggesting the opposition of mind and body, cerebral enlightenment and physical passion, these works are infused with decidedly spiritual qualities. Standing before one of Miller’s dazzling abstractions, we become not merely witnesses to but participants in a slowly unfolding event, or as the artist once described it, “a moment in flux,” in which distinctions between internal and external phenomena become diffuse, then reform only to dissipate again. Senses are challenged and sharpened; thoughts gain clarity. And given the right frame of mind, we may begin to examine not only what we are seeing, but how we are seeing, and ultimately, the very nature of consciousness itself.

- Lisa Lyons Executor, The Estate of John M. Miller

E002, 2015-2016 Magna on two raw canvas panels 56” x 44.25”

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Non-Objective | Edith Bauman

Edith Baumann “I think I’ve always been interested in understanding our universe through pattern.” I can remember laying on my back in the fields as a child, looking for equivalents in the cloud patterns and later completely understanding the binary number system when it was introduced to me at 8 years. Unconsciously, I recognized our interconnectedness through collective pattern… simple systems that repeat. When I first started to paint, I was immediately drawn to the Asian spatial concerns through an encounter with an exhibition of 17th Century Japanese screens and soon was introduced to the reductive essentials of John McLaughlin’s paintings. But one of my favorite paintings is Mondrian’s “Broadway Boogie Woogie” reflecting the randomness and structure of Jazz. I use identical shapes to form a plane hovering in the surround. Randomness and structure…two different things, happening at the same time, interconnected. There is movement yet stillness through pattern. Unconsciously, I think we recognize that. And I do love color. It complicates the mix but emotionally exhilarates.

Jazz Notes #57, 2017 Handground raw pigments on canvas 29” x 29”

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Non-Objective | Edith Bauman

Jazz Notes #75, 2011 Handground raw pigments on canvas, 29” x 29”

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Non-Objective | Daniel Mendel-Black

Daniel Mendel-Black “I never could paint a straight line very well...” ...so the first chance I got to weigh in on the subject, I eradicated the concept. As soon as I did away with this, I had a rush of formative insights. For starters, it became clear to me- the straight line was bogus. The next big insight was that, while the line is false, color is not. It corresponds to actual light frequencies. By making the edges of my planes crooked and giving them a subtle softness and vibration, I felt I was getting the material aspect of the painting to more accurately match the colors on the surface - the better to amplify their effect. Painters such as Kandinsky and Mondrian already early last century - in attempting to grasp the power of their medium - were considering the possibility of color as a fifth dimension. In the multiverse, as physicists currently theorize time and space, an infinite number of dimensions are now believed possible. What, I wonder, would those two pioneering non-objectivists make of these latest scientific speculations? Isn’t the hallmark of successful abstraction that it appears simultaneously primitive and futuristic - outside of current time - forever new? I am especially focused on these qualities uniquely peculiar to color dimensions.

Lime Tree Arbor, 2014 Acrylic on canvas on wood panel 42” x 26”

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Non-Objective | Daniel Mendel-Black

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Non-Objective | Daniel Mendel-Black

Naked Blue, 2016 Acrylic on canvas on wood panel 18” x 23”

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Non-Objective | Daniel Mendel-Black

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Non-Objective | Meg Cranston

Meg Cranston I plan my most of work - every detail. I was trained by conceptual artists, Huebler, Asher, Baldessari so I do what I was told. But on another level, I can’t relate. I just want to paint. These paintings, done with the left over paint come from that. If you love painting you love the stuff. The color is controlled but that’s the limit. “With levity and wit, Meg Cranston investigates the intersections between individual and shared experience and how imagery and objects acquire meaning in our culture. Equally enamored of the diverse aesthetics of color theory, design, fashion, and supermarket advertising, she makes energetic collages pairing found imagery with monochromatic abstract forms. While often taking personal attributes or historical events as a jumping-off point, Cranston’s work is equally concerned with the formal language of art and the role the artist plays in helping us see the world in new ways.” -Hammer Museum

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Leftover Shapes, 2017 Acrylic on canvas 36” x 24”

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Non-Objective | Meg Cranston

Same Color, 2017 Acrylic on canvas 36” x 24”

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Non-Objective | James Hayward

James Hayward “I have been painting for most of my 74 years.” I have no idea how I might spend my time were it not for painting. I don’t wish to spend all of my life in the studio, so I paint as quickly as I can. This allows me time to spend with friends, family, on the road, in galleries, in gardens, reading and writing. Time to work ponies and drink nice Tequila. While I have been receiving accolades for my efforts forever, and while I attended university and graduate school for ten years, most of what I now know about painting comes from traveling and looking. I love visiting museums both at home and abroad. It was in Rome, at the Galleria Borghese, that I first stumbled upon Titian’s, “Venus Blindfolding Cupid”, painted when the old master was 75 years old. His hands trembled and the masterful skill of his youth was long gone, but with diminished skills he pushed on and in the process changed the look of painting for centuries to come. I walked out in tears, looking only at the floor before me. Wow! It was in London, at the Tate that I saw Turner’s nocturnal squalls at sea. So beautifully conceived and marked. Awesome. And at the National Gallery where I first saw Degas’, “Woman Having Her Hair Combed”, which I knew, from across a huge room, was the Muse for Matisse’s “Red Garden” and “Red Studio”. When I read the plaque it said, “Donated by Henri Matisse”. Yes! It was at that moment that I first conceived of a real red room, hung with red paintings. Three dealers agreed to do such a room, later to renege. Thank you Bennett and Julie for helping me to realize this project. All painting possesses three basic properties: they are a shape, a surface and color. Beyond that you add what you need to. I have tried to add as little as possible. It seems that the less one adds, the more inclusive the painting is. There is little basic difference between Titian’s studio practice and my own. My protocols are heavily influenced by late Titian. When he moved the emphasis to “marking” over “rendering”, whether consciously or not, he changed painting forever. He had de-mythicized control and in doing so, allowed paint to be paint. I still live with this ideal on a daily basis.

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Non-Objective | James Hayward

Abstract Diptych #47, 2017 Oil on canvas on wood 33” x 44”

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Non-Objective | Scot Heywood

Scot Heywood Since the seventies, the philosophical thrust of my work has been focused on the experiential possibilities of a nonrepresentational geometric abstract painting. My sole concern has been a viewer–painting relationship that is direct, immediate, and timeless in nature. My concern has never been design or composition, but rather the frontal nature of the painted plane, precognitive experience, and, ultimately, singularity. Since the eighties, I have been involved with an external structure that is in a direct relationship with its internal counterpart. This dialogue was originally intended to break the traditional pictorial containment of the square or rectangle. The structural and coloristic intent is always directed towards a dynamic/static tension, forcing the viewer into not simply a conceptualization of the work, but one that allows for a physical relationship between viewer and painting. Paradoxically, at the same time that this duality exists, I would hope that the viewer becomes aware of the subject/object existing as one notion. A direct relationship with one’s true nature is all that is essential. David Pagel of the Los Angeles Times has written on the experience of regarding Heywood’s work, explaining that, “To stand before one of these paintings, each of which is the size of a generously scaled doorway, is to find your whole body involuntarily adjusting itself to the subtly out-of-whack geometry of Heywood’s art.”

Double Edge - Red, Yellow, Blue, 2008 Acrylic on canvas and wood 16” x 16”

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Non-Objective | Scot Heywood

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Non-Objective | Scot Heywood

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Non-Objective | Scot Heywood

‘Un Deux Trois - Black, Blue, Gray, 2008 Acrylic on canvas and wood 16.25” x 16”

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Non-Objective | Kristin Beinner James

Kristin Beinner James The paintings for this exhibition are oil, acrylic and wax on various atypical painting surfaces; aluminum modeling mesh, jute and cotton interface. Interface is a textile commonly found in the garment trade. Its neutral tone and open grid-like weave serves well in opening up the construction and “operation” of the painting. I see my paintings as filters that sift intent and material. Their visually tactile surfaces attempt to grasp vision through a projection of touch. To make them, I extrude paint and wax through the back of a stretched picture plane. Various tools and speeds of application are employed to render an indexical topography of paint on the front of the painting. A shadow and a record of the action of the back is visible through the front. Straddling the support from the side, I paint by feel, at times unable to see the resulting image as it emerges. In an auto-poetic response, the painting is complete when the ground is saturated and resists further applications of paint. My aim is for these paintings to hover in-between intention and result, front and back, near and far, inside and outside. The paintings present an other-side, a space of porous boundaries.

Untitled, 2015 Acrylic, wax, cotton interface on wood panel 8” x 8” x 2”

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Non-Objective | Kristin Beinner James

Untitled, 2015 Acrylic, wax, cotton interface 32” x 32” x 1.75”

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Non-Objective | Penelope Krebs

Penelope Krebs My intent with painting is to bring about a clarity that is undeniable, using color relationships to facilitate an abstract idea. The colors are chosen thru trial and error until their relationship becomes non-referential and they are experienced simultaneously as one structure. The immediate realization of an abstract idea into a tangible form is what excites me about painting, embodying joy and creating interest without using language. “Perfectly painted, they recall the seemingly infinite sense of possibility that races through kids’ minds when they open their first giant box of crayons and gaze, in silent amazement, at the 128 different colors. Krebs’ oils-on-canvas induce a similar sort of speechlessness. Before their odd combinations of color and exquisite mixes of pigment, the viewer is often at a complete loss for words.” - David Pagel

Untitled, 2017 Oil on panel 30” x 30”

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Non-Objective | Penelope Krebs

Untitled, 2017 Oil on panel 30” x 30”

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Non-Objective | Allison Miller

Allison Miller I make paintings that don’t choose either/or, but always and, and. Each painting is meant to be experienced as it was made – intuitively, incrementally, compressing contradictory elements and moves, never coming to rest in any one behavior. They are accidental and intentional, referencing the interior of the body, cartoons, landscape space and the making of the paintings themselves. They use thick oil, transparent acrylic washes, pencil, collage, drips, scrapes and taped lines layering materials and marks until they transform into something new; both the proposals for and the ultimate, complete versions of themselves. “Miller’s process isn’t to cover the canvas with paint so much as to cover and uncover it, to interrupt, upend or subvert an expectation. For her, a canvas isn’t a surface to which another uniform surface is applied, but a kind of diary where things are added, covered over, uncovered — a combination of construction and archaeology...there is no citation, irony, or nostalgia, only the present tense of the painting.” -John Yau

Hyphen, 2014 Acrylic and pencil on canvas 28” x 30”

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Non-Objective | Allison Miller

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Non-Objective | Allison Miller

Wallpaper, 2012 Oil, acrylic and dirt on canvas 26” x 30””

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Non-Objective | Ed Moses

Ed Moses “My thought is that the artist functions in a tribal context, that he is the shaman. When the urban life came in, tribes no longer existed … but there was still a genetic core of shamans, of magic men, broken loose and genetically floating around. And when they had this gene, they shook the rattles. The shamans were the interpreters of the unknown, they reacted to the unknown with symbols and objects and wall painting. And that’s where it all came from. That’s where I came from, but when you’re a young man you don’t know that.” Considered one of the foremost postwar abstract painters in the Southern California scene, working alongside a generation of artists known as the “cool school,” Ed Moses has been engaged in what he sees as a continual process of discovery for more than half a century. As he describes, “Painting is like discovery, trying this, trying that, bending this, twirling that, and then every once in awhile it goes bing!” His compositions include Braque-inspired, semi-representational scenes; abstract, allover patterns; color fields; and hard-edged geometric shapes. His work continues to be exhibited worldwide. For Moses, however, success is secondary to the pleasure of painting itself.

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Non-Objective | Ed Moses

“I’m never inspired. I’m obsessed. And I look forward every day to paint.”

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Non-Objective | Ed Moses

30E, 2017 Acrylic on canvas 60” x 48”

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Fruit Bar 3, 2016 Acrylic on canvas 24” x 30”

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Non-Objective | Michael Reafsnyder

Duck Diving, 2015 Acrylic on linen 22” x 26”

Michael Reafsnyder Painting’s capacity for frivolity, lusciousness, and sensuousness is outrageous. My paintings indulge in these capacities, making sure to steer clear of pursuits of truth, interiority, and seriousness. I see my work coming out of several traditions of painting, most notably Abstract Expressionism. However, I am interested in Abstract Expressionist painting from a consideration of joyous upheaval, and not angst. My paintings indulge in humor as an antidote to transcendence and sublimation. Moving beyond notions of authenticity, my paintings launch from a position of discovery and wonder. “Michael Reafsnyder is a radical artist; he is also a radical painter, and we haven’t seen one of those since the early 1970s. He is radical because he is less concerned with how we look at his paintings than with how we look at paintings in general. Like most of the Minimalists, he is a radical revisionist.” – Dave Hickey

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Non-Objective | Michael Reafsnyder

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Non-Objective | Michael Reafsnyder

Green Machine, 2015 Acrylic on linen 26” x 22”

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Non-Objective | Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe

Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe My paintings work through experiences you can’t help but have as long as you’re looking at them. Color makes a space whether you’d like it to or not, the surface that at the same time registers as marks contradicts the spatial expression but in doing so reinforces it rather than cancelling it out. Similarly, you can’t not experience movement while looking at a work made out of more than one color despite knowing that it’s a static object. Matisse was fond of the arabesque for that sort of reason, it’s a combination of two ‘s’ lines that you can’t see as standing still. Because of its grounding in the involuntary, my painting is much closer to music or poetry than to mediums grounded in description and documentation, like prose or photography, film, or video. You need to look at it without looking for anything specific in it. At the same time my work is full, and made out of, the logic of color and the emotion that comes with it. Schopenhauer describes how one may listen to a piece of music without being able to say what it is about or of but afterwards feel that all sorts of important questions that were in your head when you went to hear it have now been answered. That’s what I’m aiming for.

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Grey Step, 2005 Gouache on paper 30.25” x 9.5”

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Non-Objective | Patrick Tobias

Patrick Tobias I think that the monochrome, or the “all over” field of color, is the place for me. It’s one of the only words christened by art historians to describe painting that I’m not completely offended by. It’s not abstract painting, I’m not taking something and turning it into something else. That would mean to introduce ideas about authorship, identity, politics and originality and nothing is more unoriginal. The monochrome is the best word to describe my paintings because the very word itself is testimony to the impossibility of describing a painting with words. I’ve always especially liked the term monochrome because it wrongly implies that painting is one single thing. Color and marks are the main objective and they both come from French Post Impressionism, among other things. The titles of the paintings have always been taken from history, if the viewer has to have words in their head when they look at my paintings they should evoke something historical.

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Non-Objective | Patrick Tobias

Africa Brass, 2014-2017 Oil on panel 4.75” x 4.25”

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Non-Objective | Patrick Tobias

Peace Piece, 2017 Oil on panel 48” x 36”

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Non-Objective  

A catalog for Telluride Gallery's Non-Objective show featuring 13 painters curated by James Hayward opening December 14th 2017

Non-Objective  

A catalog for Telluride Gallery's Non-Objective show featuring 13 painters curated by James Hayward opening December 14th 2017

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