Continuing through June 30, 2017
After a spiritual experience in the southwest desert in 1994, Arizona native Hilario Gutierrez dove into abstraction at age 43 with no previous painting experience. Over twenty years and twelve solo shows later, his paintings continue to embody the collision of emotions felt before a dramatic western landscape.
The overlapping horizontal hues of, for example, “In the Swirl” and “No Particular Order” are jarring, even chaotic. They dive over and push against each other in what feels like a competition for space. But just as we begin to fear for a composition’s overall aesthetic cohesion, the initial sense of turmoil gives way to a single pulse of organized movement. They settle into landscapes that place us beneath an ever-changing New Mexico sky or a blazing Arizona sunset. Broader blocks of textural color in “Stone Bridge” and “The Slow Melt” reference the color field aesthetic, but with hard edges that provide frame within which the surface tension plays out. The color field itself can become quite ethereal, as in “White Bird.”
Gutierrez stretches his canvases over wood panels, lending permanence to their structure while maintaining absorbent and buoyant painting surfaces. The artist’s ultimate subject matter is the act of painting, as its scraped, smoothed and layered into an exciting visual experience.