For a long time, it was all about the coasts in the American art world. The vast chasm in between was consigned to landscapes, Norman Rockwell-type sentimental kitsch and various iterations. The urban artistic vernacular was—and still is, to large extent—more minimalist, succinct, postmodern and theoretical; it was about the artistic process more than the ostensible object. But artists from the “Left Coast” are more “Hollywood,” if only in the sense that their “negative capability”—to borrow a poetic term—is that of the arid palm-laden vista rather than the compacted skyscraper. Two artists from opposite sides of the country mount a show of works that find an uncommon kind of balance.
Washington, D.C.-based James Huckenpahler creates artwork that appears to be an instructional TV show from the pre-color era. Digital paintings constructed of black, white and gray forms complete a rhythmic geometry and an interior landscape. Their limited tonal hue creates an otherworldly depth. Their density is somehow as lyrical as a jazz improvisation.
Minimalist painter Charles Fresquez lives and works in Albuquerque, N.M. His luminous cast-acrylic and enamel works, including parallel and perpendicular lines of pastel hues, make multiple allusions to: the neon sculptures of Dan Flavin, West Coast minimalists, formal structures of electronic music like Kraftwerk, but perhaps most of all, the sun-bleached desert expanses of his home state. His Southwest is far from Huckenpahler’s coastal plains yet is connected by its sheer geographical scale.
Charles Fresquez & James Huckenpahler @ The Livingroom, 2105 Fardown Ave., 801- 987-0244, through Jan. 22