KIM MAC CONNEL
May 15 - June 20, 2015
The title of the exhibition, ABRACADABRA, besides its association with "The Arabian Nights" ("Open Sesame!"), comes from the magician's encrypted command. This proceeds pulling things out of thin air -- or a magician's hat. The paintings are, in fact, titled Rabbits, or Doves, or Bunnies, or Gerbils. lation, video, and conceptual art.
The process of making the paintings is intuitive, and spontaneous, in that a limited number of geometric forms, combined with a fairly limited color palette, offer a number of choices, which can be acted on. The paint, sign painter's enamels, requires that any painted form be dry before an abutting form can be painted. This allots a break in which to consider options, possibilities, and potential surprises. The result then is something like the repeat of letters in ABRACADABRA, a pattern of repeats of distinct forms and colors in individual works that come out differently in each work. While "formulaic," something I railed against in the late 1960's and early 1970's Minimalist-Conceptual dominated art world, I find the process surprisingly interesting, particularly passing it through the filter of non-taped edges of the painted form. This simple gesture not only reintroduces "the hand" into the formula, but it as well, returns the idea of abstraction to the cultural sources that it was once taken from: Non-Western visual traditions of Native America, Africa, India, Mexico and South America.
Not using a sketch, which I've mostly used in my career, makes the act more of a high wire experience. The possibility of something not working as form or color, or worse, a repeat of an entire painting would be the risk. Here, I decided in the early stages of this series in 2010, that a repeat would end the series. The entire body of work of Rabbits, Doves, Bunnies, and Gerbils now numbers near 200 paintings in total without a repeat. The works in this exhibition focus on some of the more recent paintings, as well as works from the last 3 years.
- Kim MacConnel