Currently on view at Pace Gallery’s New York location, Chinese artist Wang Guangle has installed a body of new paintings marking a continuation of the artist’s nuanced approach towards painterly minimalism and gestural abstraction. Titled Duo Color, the show invites a reconsideration of Wang’s work in the investigation of time and space, bound by the movement of the brush and the application of paint to canvas.
The show features a series of 14 new acrylic compositions, created through repeated movements across the surface of the canvas. Embracing a systemic, gradual approach to his pieces in the show, Wang’s practice here traces a gradual working inwards from the periphery of each work, using uniform brushstrokes that underscore his masterfully precise use of the brush. His pieces, moving slowly through a series of gradations in color, ultimately realize themselves as a slow fading of color, one that simultaneously shows their process of creation by close examination, yet simultaneously suspend the artist’s movements in a slow, fluid movement through the chosen spectrum of colors for each work. This considered technique gives his paintings a potent illusionistic depth, with the varying tones of the composition acting as a subtle framing device for each work, the space of the canvas appearing to recede deep into the wall as a light fades as it moves away from its source.
Wang’s work is rooted in an investigation of painting’s temporality, and in the power of the canvas as a vessel of labor and marker of time. Here, that framing turns his pieces into a site where time becomes a point of consideration itself, appearing as if it were flowing in multiple directions at once. Almost monolithic in their final form, the pieces recall a sort of immediate phenomena. Yet the pieces are equally an act of “reconciliation,” finding a site of balance and harmony between shades and hues that he centers as a focus of his work. The artist’s diligent act of reconciling and uniting two opposing colors can be understood as the symbolic harmonization of the conflicting relationship between the physical and the spiritual worlds—resulting in a final painting, which the artist describes as the “shape of the psyche.”
It’s an intriguing concept, one which marries together questions of patience and gesture with a sense of physical separation. Wang, working at disparate states and using his actions to draw them together, seems to emphasize the act of healing, of joining together, as happening only within the bounds of time, but equally seems to require a particularly long timeframe. Continually revisiting and reworking the surface until it fades into a studied, unified form, the artist’s work traces the act of movement through the world, and into the flow of time itself.
The show closes February 9th.
— D. Creahan
Wang Guangle: “Duo Color” [Pace Gallery]