One of my favorite spots in town, the uptown rest stop called the downstairs Project Space at Knoedler & Company, is soon to close, as that venerable gallery building changes hands, so best go an enjoy the current exhibition of oils on paper and panel by Matt Magee.
Magee is a gentle manipulator of symbols with a strong grounding in the symbolist abstract painters who have come before. His White Interval could have been created by Ellsworth Kelly or Ralph Coburn during their revolutionary sojourn in Paris in the early 1950s. Nevertheless, every one of these 2010 Magee creations is unique and distinct. Thistle Two is quietly powerful eye-popping wave, yet Dibbuk, with its humorous satanic colors, emerges from a playing card.
What influences Magee is the forms that catch the eye on the street, translatable into modest beauty, and thus you might find echoes of artists as diverse as Bridget Riley, Caio Fonseca and Mimmo Rotella in Magee's stuff that constitutes an interpretation of perception. My favorite piece in the show is the blue bit of code called Chad, easily referencing the hanging chads of the 2000 Presidential election, but also about a fella at the beach, if you catch my drift.
Catching the drift is what Matt Magee does, too, in a pleasing and enduring manner perfectly suited to Knoedler's visual downstairs oasis.
Matt Magee, "New Paintings," Sept. 23-Nov. 13, 2010, at Knoedler & Company, 19 East 70th Street, New York, N.Y. 10021
CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).