STEVE RIEDELL 'THREE KINDS OF YES'
NEW FOLDED-OVER PAINTINGS AND OTHER WORKS
MID-APRIL THROUGH LATE JUNE 2011
Front room, counterclockwise from right, at window:
1. Folded-Over Painting (Red), 2011 oil / wax / canvas / wood; 24 ¾” x 16 3/8” x 2 ¼”
2. Folded-Over Painting (Gray), 2011 oil / wax / canvas / wood; 24 ½” x 11 ½” x 2 ¾”
3. Folded-Over Painting (Green / Dark Green), 2011 oil / wax / canvas / wood; 17 ½” x 18 ½” x 2 ¼”
4. Folded-Over Painting (Blue / Gray), 2011 oil / wax / canvas / wood; 19 ¼” x 18 ¼” x 3 ¼”
5. Folded-Over Painting (Dark Purple / Dark Red), 2011 oil / wax / canvas / wood; 22 ½” x 14 ½” x 2 ½”
6. Folded-Over Painting (Green), 2010 oil / wax / canvas / wood; 24” x 22” x 2 ½”
7. Folded-Over Painting (White), 2010 oil / wax / canvas / wood; 19” x 15” x 2 ¼”
8. Folded-Over Painting (Blue), 2010 oil / wax / canvas / wood; 34” x 20 ½” x 2 ½”
9. Folded-Over Painting (Orange), 2010 oil / wax / canvas / wood; 20” x 12” x 3”
Second room, counterclockwise from right, at entry:
10. In San Juan, 2011 oil / wax / canvas / wood; 36” x 19 ¾” x 4 ½”
11. Diagonals, 2011 oil / wax / canvas / wood; 60” x 120” x 3 ½”
12. Sooner Than You Think, 2011 oil / wax / canvas / wood; 36” x 16 ¾” x 3 ½”
13. Folded-Over Painting (Yellow Ochre / Orange), 2011 oil / wax / canvas / wood; 31” x 15 ¾” x 2 ½”
14. Folded-Over Painting (Red / Yellow Ochre), 2011 oil / wax / canvas / wood; 20 ½” x 12 ½” x 2 ¼”
Upon first viewing the installation of my folded-over paintings at Larry Becker Contemporary Art the paintings reminded me of lost artifacts associated with the beach, sun and water; inflated/deflated flotation devices, beach balls, collapsable
fabric chairs, a swim suit dried stiff in the sun. Containers of a sort which offered the possibility that something was being filled up or emptied out.The colors of the individual pieces at first kept me at a distance but the closer I looked the more they seemed to soften and become complex alluding to some former use and the passing of time. These collected works in the gallery space brought up memories of days growing up in Southern California. I felt like I was seeing this body of work with new clarity.
While working in the studio on the folded-over paintings my concerns were mostly formal and much of the time I was lost in the process of making them. The reemergence of the stretched canvas and subsequently the use of the staple to fasten the canvas to its wood support is most significant. Up until this point, with a few exceptions (mostly early work), the canvas had been glued tight with matte medium to a wood panel. In these works the canvas was initially painted while stapled to my work table then glued to the support panel where the application of oil paint and beeswax would continue. With these new stretched works the journey back and forth between table top and stretcher for the canvas is recurrent until the right fit is achieved. In this I am continually making and unmaking the painting.
Shifting planes of color occur as the canvas and stretcher are refit and they blur the distinction between frontal plane, sides, top and bottom. In some instances a portion of what was previously the back of a painting becomes visible and that which was formerly apparent becomes hidden. Jasper Johns’ painting from 1964, Souvenir 2 , where one stretcher is reversed and attached face down to another painting, has been of interest to me. I've wondered, is the painting hiding or looking inward? Here, what is unintentional becomes the focus and the planned is out of sight.
The canvas puckers and dimples where staples have been removed and the painted fabric readjusted. Sometimes the staples are left in (crimped on the reverse) where they perform no function. Other times they are embedded in the wood and echo the support below. Tiny twin air holes pierce the painted skin of the works where previously they have been attached to my table top. Creases and folds are also apparent and hint at the past life of the painting.
In the exhibition two paintings hang at an angle because a portion of the upper stretcher has been removed and the canvas folded-over. I've thought of them as falling/rising, in flux. A friend commented that they looked as if they were tilting up towards the sun and the light. I like this reading.
STEVE RIEDELL May 11, 2011