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G. Lewis Clevenger
Laura Russo Gallery, Portland, Oregon
Recommendation by Richard Speer

G. Lewis Clevenger, "Bells and Whistles (Winter)," 2015, acrylic and charcoal on canvas, 60 x 60"

Continuing through January 30, 2016

Elvis may or may not have left the proverbial building, but artist G. Lewis Clevenger has most definitely left the grid. In “As I See It” the painter fully parts ways with the rectilinear abstraction that has long been his calling card. Replacing those grid-based works — which were influenced by blueprints of mid-century modernist homes — are free-form, unbracketed compositions such as “The Recipe,” which integrates gesture, child-like scrawls, and creamily textural passages. 

The central gestures in another work, “Signs of Spring,” are so serpentine as to recall late-career Matisse’s sinuous blue nudes. Instead of referencing suburban ranch homes, the painting “Ipsy Dipsy Doodle (Pink Studio)” alludes to big-city life, its charcoal slashes standing in for skyscraper windows and power lines. The show’s color palette tends toward periwinkle, eggshell and maize, with judicious splashes of bracing Crayola blue, as in the sumptuous work on paper, “Untitled II.”  Clevenger’s years-long path from geometry to gesture has been deliberate, verging on tentative, but in the current show he has arrived fully and without a crutch in the realm of the grid-less. It is a vivacious, fully committed body of work.

Russo-Lee Gallery

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