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Michael Rouillard
at Charlotte Jackson Fine Art Santa Fe, New Mexico
Recommendation by Alex Ross

Through May 31, 2011

In thirteen rigorously understated oil on aluminum paintings Michael Rouillard undertakes a quiet, but not quiescent, examination of the perceived stability attributed to established art historical categories. Operating between the boundaries of the monochrome and hard-edge abstraction, the majority of works on view suggest a single, unmodulated color from a distance, but reveal unforeseen complications when once gets up close. This canny trick both derives from and accentuates complex structural issues that mine tensions between the apparent and concealed.
The exhibition's most ambitious works are constructed of layered aluminum panels pinned directly to the gallery walls. Cut to reveal minute glimpses of underlying hues, they emphasize incision rather than accretion as a source of forceful lineation. Ultimately, however, these compositions are more rewarding for their totality than their parts. Measuring up to nine feet in height, Rouillard's largest paintings possess an architectonic specificity that invites an acute awareness of their literal materiality. In evoking the apertures of doorways, they invite the viewer to enter a space forever closed to bodily access, but which is that much more enticing to perceive. Suggesting a spatial expanse yet ultimately eschewing linear perspective, the artist's works attune us to Minimalism's productive play on the distinctions between appearance and being.

Charlotte Jackson Fine Art

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