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Oli Sihvonen
at James Kelly Contemporary, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Recommendation by Michael Abatemarco

Oli Sihvonen was devoted to endless permutations of Color Field painting by way of intricately structured paintings.

Continuing through March 24, 2012


“Energy Fields, Life as a Painter” is nothing if not a playful reminder of the basic constructs at work in painterly compositions. Oli Sihvonen relied heavily on color relationships and geometric forms to convey a sense of movement, of depth, and shadow. His devotion to Color Field painting was expertly realized in seemingly endless combinations. A small painting, simply titled “4 x 4,” is a perfect square separated into vertical and horizontal bands that belie Sihvonen’s intricate use of structure. The colors appear to affect one another the way near-transparent materials shift in tone when placed over each other.


While “4 x 4” seems to possess a steady back and forth movement, carrying the eye up then down, left then right, many other paintings are alive with kinetic energy. While essentially remaining abstractions, a few, like “Ladder,” broach the territory of representation while remaining consistent and true with respect to Sihvonen’s larger body of work.

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