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by Meredith Mendelsohn
|Leo de Goede, Jan. 8-Feb. 5, 2000, at Paul Kasmin Gallery, 293 10th Ave., New York, N.Y. 10001.
Processed wood never looked so sensual before Leo de Goede set his brush to it. In his current show at Paul Kasmin Gallery -- his first solo exhibition in New York -- the London-based Dutch artist presents 10 abstract paintings. In the front gallery are five large works done on 4 X 8 ft. sheets of plywood. In the second gallery are smaller paintings done on particleboard.
For his plywood works, de Goede has left the majority of the wood untouched, and meticulously painted in some of the veins in the intricate wood grain with candy-colored eggshell (enamel) paint. Delicate streams of pink, blue, yellow, black and red widen and narrow, disappearing and reappearing out of the wood, squiggling and squirming, yet always staying perfectly within the boundaries of the grain.
More process-intensive than the plywood paintings, the works in the second gallery, each 28 x 48 in., show closely rendered swirls of color. De Goede drops eggshell paint into water, gives it a swirl like a cook would with marbled cake batter, and photographs the resulting patterns. He then projects the image onto a piece of particleboard and paints it, giving each color its own layer.
The surfaces are extremely smooth and slick -- almost graphic --with a warmth and richness of pattern and color. These works are indeed abstract, but they are also literal representations of something real -- an abstract pattern in a tub of paint.
In both series, de Goede keeps his own "creativity" at arm's length. The design of his paintings is determined (at least in part) by outside forces. In the plywood works, he follows the naturally existing patterns in the wood, while the particleboard pieces are ruled by chance and the physics of fluids. Like painters before him, from Morris Louis to Sol LeWitt, de Goede is obsessed with nuances of artistic intention in relation to the transcendent esthetic power of color.
The exhibition is only on view through Saturday, Feb. 5., but watch for De Goede's work at Paul Kasmin's booth at the Armory Show 2000, Feb. 25-28, at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan.
MEREDITH MENDELSOHN is associate editor of Artnet Magazine.