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"All the Roses that Were Ever Painted: Jon Berzinski, Limor Gasko, and Gary Peterson"
2004-02-21 until 2004-03-15
Plus Ultra Gallery
USA United States of America
Plus Ultra is very pleased to present "All the Roses that Were Ever Painted," an exhibition of recent work by New York artists Jon Berzinski, Limor Gasko, and Gary Peterson. Referencing a quote by Henri Matisse about the ubiquitous burden of history on each new generation of painters, "All the Roses that Were Ever Painted" brings together the work of three artists representing the spectrum of contemporary painting form. Examining the overlapping similarities of each, this exhibition asks the question: are the goals of abstract and representational painting any longer distinguishable?
The savvy abstractions by Gary Peterson stand at one end of the spectrum. Loosely suggesting systems, body parts, or worlds within worlds, they combine a geo-organic vocabulary with a playful, but disquieting palette, all the while carefully avoiding representation of anything specific. Still concerned with the metaphorical potential of paint that has informed abstraction historically, peterson consciously flirts with representation, rather than abstracting something that is actual, thereby creating windows into imaginary worlds. In the middle of the spectrum are the abstractions of actual interiors by Jon Berzinski. based on photographs of the capital punishment chambers in various prisons, Berzinki's paintings blend politically loaded subject matter with pop-chartered commentary via a treatment that both reflects and deflects the cold, clinical reality that takes place there. Clearly identifiable forms combined with a nonrepresentational palette and hard geometric abstraction defy easy definition within either form. Approaching photorealism, Limor Gasko's deftly painted still lives stand at the other end of the spectrum. In compositions of arranged mice, birds, or flowers on fields of electric colors, Gasko's crisp palette blends with subtle allegories that stop short of what would be called "surrealism" but still tap into psychological responses by the viewer. Competing with her mostly solid grounds for domination, Gasko's unusually composed figures construct larger shapes and relationships commonly associated with abstraction.
Of course, lingering in the shadows of this investigation and complicating any discussion of artists' goals remains the ever-present specter of irony. Although it would seem that the question of irony is no longer the tenure of the artist alone (it's now at least partially decided by the viewer as well), the emergence of overlapping similarities between forms in contemporary painting seem to render the question less relevant.