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Michael Kessler
Calvin Charles Gallery, Scottsdale, Arizona
Recommendation by Deborah Ross


Michael Kessler, "Aspenfields (2)," 2016, acrylic on canvas, 84 x 48"

Continuing through February 25, 2017

By titling his show of large acrylic canvases “Linked,” Michael Kessler posits that the hard-edge lines, the black squiggles and the biomorphic textures that characterize his work are in constant dialogue. While one portion of a canvas can suggest the manmade environment, another portion imagines the natural world — a stand of slender, knotty trees; rivulets of water; and organic shapes. But instead of man versus nature, it’s man linked with nature, thanks to Kessler’s skillful use of translucent layers to reveal an interplay of motifs.

In the “Traction and Cross Over Series” — five oblong panels each stretching to 7 feet tall — Kessler superimposes blocks of white paint onto variegated fields of neutral colors and black curlicues. With the subtle translucency of the white blocks, however, no part of the composition is truly hidden, implying harmony and connection among the disparate elements. Throughout the paintings, juxtapositions just work: textured versus flat surfaces, defined shapes versus gestural strokes, and light versus shadow.

While most of the works here rely on a palette of grays and browns, Kessler explores color contrasts in “Redpines (3),” featuring gold veins running through a deep red field. In “Moongazers (2),” striations of dark blue are interrupted in the center by a black-bordered “window” of earth tones.

Kessler states says that paintings can be agents of spiritual transformation, nurturing a flow between the natural world and collective consciousness. Even if you can’t grab onto that, “Linked” certainly communicates the beauty all around us.

Calvin Charles Gallery

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