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Ronald Slowinski
Gebert Contemporary, 
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Recommendation by Alex Ross

Continues through January 16, 2011

Ronald Slowinski\'s series of \"Systemic Paintings,\" created between 1966 and 1973, employs logically consistent systems to generate complex visual effects from simple forms. Sharing its title with an influential Guggenheim exhibition curated by Lawrence Alloway in the year of the series\' inception, the works reflect a widespread and decisive shift in the logic of abstraction. Spurred by a radical redefinition of art in the late 1960s, expanded to include diverse new media post-studio or anti-commodification practices questioning second generation Abstract Expressionism\'s \"tortured\" density, Slowinski pursues a new visual language characterized by structural clarity and a self-reflexive emphasis on painting\'s literal materiality.

The fifteen hard-edge works here trace the artist\'s oscillation between two dominant rule-driven compositional formats that inform his painting throughout this period. The first manifests an exploration of chromatically dissonant fractured forms organized within the equalizing space of gridded arrangements. The second repeats a jagged rectilinear shape that evokes an simplified Mayan spiral or a pixelated view of Robert Smithson\'s \"Spiral Jetty.\" Suggesting the reciprocal fertility between growth and entropy, ironically at a time of unprecedented ruptures in America\'s social fabric, it reads as a clever rejoinder to the utopian yearnings implied by the artist\'s elsewhere committed Modernist grids. The exhibition, which resists the urge to segregate these divergent schemas, attests to the complementary aesthetic pairing of Slowinski\'s visual strategies and the consistently visceral character of his work.

Gebert Contemporary

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