Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Review: Andrew Rose at Andrew Rose Gallery | Honolulu | May-June 2012

The new paintings presented by Honolulu-based artist Andrew Rose at his eponymous white box gallery grew out of a meditation process on brushstroke and color.  As the artist states in his exhibition notes, these paintings, all from 2012, continue “an investigation of how gesture and pattern function across different scales and palettes in an effort to understand aesthetic apprehension.”  Rose initially began the exploration in a series of pluvial abstractions from 2008 known as “Rain Paintings.”  His latest show, “Kaleidoscope” (so called for the Ancient Greek derivation of the word, which translates as “observer of beautiful forms”), further refines and elucidates both theme and process.

Each of the eight works, which range in size from 30-by-40 inches to 5-by-15 feet, is made of a minimum of five to over fifteen layers of acrylic paint on canvas or paper.  The effect produces a harmony of color, as seen in Danaë, in which a central swell of gold emanates from a sweeping bloom of a backdrop.  Thousands of brushstrokes in varying shades, each a separate spark of light, make up the radiance that pours from the top of the canvas, a nod to the myth of Danaë being impregnated by Zeus in the form of golden rain.  In his use of both brushstroke and color, Rose’s work calls to mind Pointillism and Impressionism and is additionally connected to late 19th-century European painting in its expression of movement and spirit.  This is best illustrated in Kamakanimomi, an abstracted view of Honolulu ostensibly from the artist’s rainforest studio in the mountains above the city.  A work on paper, it is a massive, wall-length panorama in which countless calligraphic dashes of blues, yellows, and whites churn and swirl, blending sky, sun, and sea in expansive rapture.    

These are dynamic works of art; they are documents of an activity, and in that way are akin to action painting.  For Rose, process is as important as product, and his pieces emerge from the meditative spirit.  Each painting is a reflection of the contemplation and concentration by which it was made.  It is for this reason that there is such balance in the work.  Form and color coalesce.  Organic, human rhythms appear to the eye in the same subtle way that the ear might detect them in Shakespeare’s iambic verse, for example.  That the paintings buzz with life perpetuates our spirit and is an uplifting validation of our own existence.
Andrew Rose, Danaë, 2012. Acrylic on canvas. 30” x 40”.
Andrew Rose, Kamakanimomi, 2012. 55” x 180”. Acrylic on paper.

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