Steve Alexander at Test Pattern

The Arts — By on June 7, 2006 at 12:55 pm

Upon viewing Steve Alexander’s paintings at Test Pattern gallery, the viewer is distanced from the act, held like the spotted patches of color they are looking at. Within this space a subtle dialogue emerges, slowly revealing a reserved sensibility.

The paintings are made up of large slabs of color that bisect the canvas. Alexander builds up these slabs layer by layer with each new layer of color reinforcing the one underneath. The results are diaphanous color shifts and fissures that reveal some of the history of the painting. Alexander is a subtle colorist with a palette that ranges from murky grays to muted ochres and reds and blues that are close to primary. The variation of surface effects, with small furrows and pockmarks accentuated by the cool flat surface, brings further nuance to the format.

Alexander has reduced painting to its most basic open-ended means. The canvas is a controlled experiment, an investigation of the possibilities engendered by piling acts upon acts. The logic may be taken for granted on first look, but upon further examination the paintings reveal a controlled balance between the organic process and linear elements. As in his earlier paintings these lines connect the beginning and the end of each work delineating where the work has been. They also function to hold the weight of color, acting as points of reference among the topography. These relationships among color, balance, and linear elements accentuate the sophisticated simplicity in Alexander’s work.

Test Pattern is located at 334 Adams Ave.

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