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Vadim Katznelson: Interiority of Paint
Roy Boyd Gallery
As the wall-mounted sculptural abstractions of Vadim Katznelson: Interiority of Paint reveal, at times there are pleasures simply in pure color and form. Formed entirely of hard-drying acrylic resin, Katzenelson's aggregations of brightly colored, flower-like bursts are at once suggestive of solid, synthetic plasticity and the fractures or fissions of organic process. Koki (acrylic resin on panel: 10 x 10 in.: 2006) displays the basic element of construction common to these pieces, a hemispherical crush of thick individual fingers or rays pressing outward, like the blossom of a chrysanthemum or the multiple, tightly-compacted fibers of a pompon. Built up in even layers of varying color, the mound falls open in fractures to reveal one or more contrasting interior hues. The brightly hued pompons are compressed tightly together in arrays, and in aggregation the colors begin to play off against one another, a restless combination and and recombination of color harmonies as a line of gold or green, for example, made visible by the mound's fissure echoes back a the gray or blue of a dominant exterior color. Koki employs a heady mix of about twenty colors, from beige to slate-blue to algae-green, arranged in lighting strikes of colorful irregular pattern that lead the gaze everywhere and back again, while at the same time firmly bounding such impressions within the work itself.
Through varying the colors and their organization within the layers, each work becomes expressive of a differing mood. Arachne (acrylic resin on panel: 16 x 16 in.: 2006) carries a sense of brooding in its lower left quadrant, where the dark brick, brown, and purple close off the composition. Moving upward and to the right, bright underlayers, revealing themselves through fissures, take on a lava-like radiance, the sense of a burning or lambent core breaking through a cooled, solidified mantle. He Loves Me; He Loves Me Not (acrylic resin on panel: 24 x 24 in.: 2004) on the other hand is a sugary agglomeration, the fruit-colored centers under a sweeping outer layer of frosted white suggestive of candy coloration and too-sweet confection. Eudy (acrylic resin on panel: 23 x 23 in.: 2006) with its patchwork of vibrant hues invokes bright, jumpy colors so distinct in their nervous relationships they seem half-jazz, half-noise: compressed elements under considerable tension straining to fly apart, and just barely contained.
The tensions Katznelson sets up are most effective when the colors are layered and complex. Monochromatic pieces such as Splitting Rails (acrylic resin on panel: 19 x 19 in.: 2004), with its tightly packed moss-like bunchings of greens from light chartreuse to deep forest, through its lesser color-complexity throws interest back onto the texture and groupings; the associations are fewer and the work, correspondingly, less energetic. Viewing the variety of sizes in these many works, there is furthermore a particular range of dimension within which the pompon arrays yield the most harmony. A cluster of a mere one or two isn't enough 'data' to be satisfying, while too-large arrays tend to overwhelm the pompon element, making it seem small and frivolous. An array between three-by-three and six-by-six nicely balances the size of the individual pompon with the overall size of the piece, enough to give each one weight while aggregating the cluster into a harmonious whole.
Within each of these, the evenness of each finger or ray of the pompon-masses is that of machine-like precision; the smooth, shiny luster of the acrylic resin bespeaks modern synthetics. The open clefts of the fissures enliven this with a random and almost organic element. Tensions of pure color and irregular form play off against one another in these bright bursts of acrylic resin. Vadim Katznelson: Interiority of Paint will be at Roy Boyd Gallery through February 13, 2007.
--Katherine R. Lieber
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