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Gregg Renfrow
Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Portland, Oregon
Recommendation by Richard Speer


Gregg Renfrow, ''Curiouser and Curiouser,'' polymer and pigment on cast acrylic, 69 1/2 x 48''.

 

Continuing through September 1, 2012

 

There is a quality at once primordial and futuristic about the works in Gregg Renfrow’s current exhibition, "Closer to the Water."  His polymer-and-pigment sheets of cast acrylic appear to drip off the picture planes like gooey stalactites or petrified honey, imparting a delicious organicism even as the fields of color layer atop one another with a plasticine sheen that evokes late-1960s modernist design. Indeed, the Bay Area artist was heavily influenced by color-field painting, minimalism, and the California Light and Space Movement, paradigms born of the elemental appeal of pure opticality and given to effects that, accurately or not, are sometimes pigeonholed as “eye candy.”  

 

To be sure, Renfrow’s chromatic sonatas have plenty of curb appeal; "Curious and Curiouser" is like a sumptuous transliteration of Morris Louis into the opacity of cast acrylic, while "Storyland" resplends with glacial, blue-ice hues.  Technically assured and bracingly imaginative, this body of work bridges naturalism and artifice while managing to feel simultaneously controlled and oceanic, pristine and decadent.


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