Recommended by DeWitt Cheng:
Alex Couwenberg has chosen the title “Chevrons,” referring to the V- or caret-shaped motif in heraldry that most of us associate with the Chevron gasoline logo, with its nestling red and blue V shapes; a sergeant’s stripes, with three gold carets; or Kenneth Noland’s “Chevron” series of hard-edged abstract paintings made in the early 1960s.
But while Couwenberg is influenced by crisply delineated shapes faultlessly rendered, these works adopt the spatial ambiguity of cubism, with abstract forms suggesting overlapping architectural plans or machine parts in a temporary balance. Couwenberg: “The additive and reductive processes of my paintings reveal compositions of densely layered forms and patterns that weave in and out of each other, suggesting space, time, and the moment.” While Noland’s “Chevron” paintings propounded an aesthetic of radical purity, Couwenberg’s works, despite their Southern California design clarity (related to automobile and surfing culture), reflect the current cultural moment of diversity and uncertainty.
His use of alternating black and white stripes suggest modernist architecture, herringbone fabric and super graphics. We think, too, of shadow patterns used to cinematic effect in film noir, which was so often set in the City of the Angels. Mysteriously beautiful forms, with their multiple associations, seem to float in shallow space, set off by airbrushed shadows and halations. Ruler-straight lines and compass-perfect curves —sometimes flat, but sometimes rendered in low-relief gel-heavy acrylic that looks like collaged cardboard, wood or plexiglas — are contrasted with irregularities. Such broken forms and brief passages of impasto emerge from the flat, otherwise pure picture plane. Couwenberg’s titles, such as “Bombardier,” “Mai Tai” and “Pleasure Seeker,” convey an ironic 1960s vibe. His use of color, while lush, is modulated and shadowed. These icons are fascinating both for their complexity and contradiction.
Reviewed by Andy Brumer for Visual Art Source:
Ned Evans’ colorful and masterly executed acrylic and mixed-media geometric abstractions treat us to a painterly turbo-charge bouquet of color, texture, composition and feeling.
The artist uses multiple wood panels in these paintings, to which he affixes pre-cut geometrically shaped pieces of cloth, paper, plastics and other fabrics. All are seamlessly assembled. Evans textures many of these strips, squares and other rectangular materials with granulated sand-like additives (similarly to Tapies, Dubuffet, Braque and others). If many viewers will miss seeing the underlying cohesive element at work here in the midst of the constructivist Boogie Woogie movement and kaleidoscopic blur, they will certainly, if only subconsciously, feel it.
There’s also a studied color field tone poem feeling to Evans’ compositions that is counterbalanced by a jazz musician’s improvisational, supple and swift decision-making process. When integrated by the artist’s experienced eye and hand the combined gestalt of these elements, which meet the eye so simply yet represent a high order of visual organization, the paintings possess Schiller’s schein.
The gallery director’s office walls support a small group of Evans’s Cubistic sculptural reliefs titled “Keyholes.” Each consists of four blocks of thick foam painted with resin and encaustic oils. These frame more than encircle small, centrally positioned empty spaces, the “Keyholes,” and while feeling childlike and tender the pieces trigger the double entendre of piano keys. One can almost hear Thelonious Monk-like clunky iconic and ingenious solos emanating from them. Such serenading adds a welcome background accompaniment to the primary bodies of work in the main galleries.