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Michael Knutson
at Blackfish Gallery, Portland, Oregon
Recommendation by Eva Lake

Continuing through October 30, 2010

Known for creating patterns of spiraling geometric shapes, Michael Knutson presents two exhibitions placed fourteen years apart. The earlier works are from 1996, made after the artist saw the Mondrian retrospective at MOMA. Titled \"Cubic Knots,\" all the canvases are octagonal and painted in the De Stijl palette of the primaries plus black and white. Knutson takes formal cues from Pennsylvanian Dutch hex signs, but the patterns are more random. Each piece contains eight interlocking cubes, which play with the eye and suggest a transparency that doesn\'t really exist.  
Nonetheless \"Cubic Knots\" rocks steady and is easily read next to the companion exhibition of all new work called \"Transient Fields.\" Here Knutson uses the shape of a star that is repeated and overlaid, creating several layers of lattices in any given canvas. Some of these paintings are multicolored, some are monochromatic. Two of the canvases rely completely on Payne\'s Gray. The complexity he is able to achieve with such a limited color scheme boggles the mind. The push of the paint is all wedged in by hand, bestowing a thick, mosaic-like character. That heaviness of the material contradicts the trajectory of the imagery and the buoyant optimism of Knutson\'s palette.

Blackfish Gallery

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