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Steven Charles at Pierogi 2000
 
     
 
Arise, Therefore
2000
(detail)
 
Bury Ugly Hole
2000
 
In this impressive New York debut, Steven Charles showed a group of nine large and medium-sized abstract enamel-on-canvas paintings, whose almost suffocating density is relieved by a disarming and unexpected luminosity. He uses a technique that he has developed and calls "targeting in." The idea involves concentrating on tiny patches of canvas that he works and reworks, dragging a small brush in repeated patterns of lines in contrasting colors until the entire area has been completely covered.

Aside from the obsessive technique and the aim toward allover patterning of vaguely geometric forms, Charles avoids a schematic approach. Each composition is remarkably fluid, as if the painting painted itself and the artist provided only occasional intervention. Blocking Transport features an expansive network of diagonal lines suggesting an aerial view of some futuristic city. Arise, Therefore is more organic. The circular forms that are packed into this shimmering canvas hint at cells seen under a microscope. Bury Ugly Hole seems to revolve around a center point visible through the countless layers of colorful lines like a mass of spider webs.

Steven Charles, "Nowhere Fast," April 7-May 8, 2000, at Pierogi 2000, 177 North 9th Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

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