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Joe Novak
at Zane Bennett Contemporary Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Recommendation by Kathryn M Davis

Continuing through April 10, 2010

Ten 5 by 7 inch acrylic-on-clayboard panels call to mind the following litany of descriptive terms: calligraphic, watery, Florentine paper, oxidized, glassine, leafy, glowing, the heavens, and ancient cliff dwellings. The current exhibition of Joe Novak\'s small panels pairs those sorts of intimate, multi-hued pieces - drawn from a recent show, \'Colors,\' which featured 350 of the panels - with monumentally scaled abstract paintings and mid-sized prints from earlier years. Novak\'s large, otherworldly canvases in radiant hues are the stuff of dreams, and are what the artist has become known for.

The mixing of the two extremes of scale allows for what the artist terms \'programmed sequences of variable color and light movements and configurations, the effects of which extend the visual experience of painting to include the elements of time, movement, and change.\' Novak practices the laying down of color out of a years-long discipline, but the effects are quite diverse. Who makes a large violet canvas based on the sublimity of music (\'Intermezzo\')? The same guy who made a glowing, sun-colored etching called \'Recuerdos IV.\' A guy who knows his media.

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