Charles Fresquez: Studies for the Next Generation 

Through March 26 @ House Gallery

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This week’s “today” is tomorrow’s “yesterday.” As such, the art crowd is always looking for “the next big thing.” Oddly enough, that often includes more than a passing nod to the retro. Painter Charles Fresquez infuses the flavor of his New Mexico environs into his works, with plates of color in zig-zag patterns that recall native Zapotec weavings as well as the aridity of the landscape itself.

None of the pieces in Studies for the Next Generation bear titles, identical 12-by-12-inch squares (one of which is pictured above) asserting themselves by tacit presence. Composed of cast acrylic, enamel and silicone, the surfaces are composites of quarter-inch thick acrylic parallelograms with paint applied to the edges as well as the faces, giving the illusion of three-dimensional plateaus, a landscape in which colors casts shadows.

There is a certain quality of dusky light tending toward the clarity of the West Coast abstractionists of the early 1970s. Fresquez envisions his works as living entities, and you can also see an influence of the science of genetics in the recurring, recombinant patterns of color. These works resonate like narratives though they tell no explicit story—like the silent story of the land that persists generation after generation, or the hidden code weaving its tapestry through the perpetuation of humanity. (Brian Staker)

Charles Fresquez: Studies for the Next Generation @ House Gallery, 29 E. 400 South, 801-910-1736, through March 26; reception March 18, 6-9 p.m, free. HouseGallerySLC.com

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