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Laura Paulini
Eleanor Harwood Gallery, San Francisco, California
Recommendation by DeWitt Cheng


Laura Paulini, ''Untitled (Radiant Grid20122224G),'' 2012, acrylic on panel, 22 x 24''.

 

Continuing through October 13, 2012

 

Grognards were Napoleonic war veterans, whose grumblings were tolerated because of their irreproachable service. If some of us art grognards grumble occasionally about the contemporary triumph of text over image, and concept (or methodology) over visual effect, the geometric paintings of Laura Paulini, which infuse the razzle-dazzle of Op Art with a contemporary sensibility, are a welcome, decidedly “retinal” exception to the rule of conceptual complexities. Her paintings, slightly taller than 2 x 2’ and 5 x 5’ squares, do, indeed, shimmer. 

 

Paulini covers the panel surfaces with two layers of dense acrylic-paint markings: a background layer of vertical strokes about an inch and a half in length, stacked in registers, and almost mechanical in their perfection, though made by hand, in bright, saturated color; and a topcoat grid of quarter-inch dots in a range of grays and blacks that are laboriously dabbed on with round-tipped chopsticks. If the colored grid suggests, perhaps, brightly colored book spines, and an infinite library, the dots suggest dominos, Braille dots, dot-matrix and LED lettering. Everything vibrates and seems to move; the silvery gray dots even seem to reflect, like metal, the viewer. Says Paulini: “Waverings, absences, and misalignments in the mark-making contribute to an optical effect, while the simple, iconic, and symmetrical compositions retain a sense of stillness ... [combining] movement and stillness, growth and decay, harmony and chaos.”


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