Currently on view at Cheim & Read in New York, the gallery turns its attention to the late works of artist Ron Gorchov, exploring the last works the artist made between 2017 and his passing in 2020. Marking a concise summary of the artist’s work and a final look at his single-minded, painterly practice involving a curved, saddle-like stretcher that creates a painting surface that is simultaneously convex and concave, the show underscores his work in a unique and long-lasting mode of practice.
Gorchov’s particular structural invention is a hallmark of the late 1960’s, falling in line with the shaped canvases of fellow postmodernists and colorfield painters like Ellsworth Kelly, and his pieces are immediately identifiable by the gentle curves of its aforementioned shape, as if coiled to spring outwards or stuck in a moment of transition from form to form. The result are a series of spatial relations that Gorchov meant to make explict, creating negative space in curious relations to the normally flat surface of the canvas.
There’s a distinct sense of energy and vivacity in play with the artist’s work, a sense of playful suspension of disbelief in favor of a more energetic and expressive mode of realizing the canvas, both as a completed series of layers of paint, and as an object in its own right. The shape of the painting is not the end game, of course, but merely an aspect in the artist’s engagement with the canvas, its shape forcing the brush to make certain passes over its surface, and creating intriguing relations of color lent additional dimensionality by the curving surface. The result are occasional bands of color, moments where the paint pools or leaves thin streaks, the tension of the canvas placed into direct opposition with gravity. Gorchov takes each of these elements into account, rendering pieces that run between a dense textural experiment and one of the perceived object.
The show closes December 18th.
– J. Shrine
Ron Gorchov: The Last Paintings [Exhibition Site]