Continuing through December 2, 2017
Thuong Nguyen’s abstract paintings are stately works that draw from Asian calligraphy and Zen Buddhist philosophy. Often working in black and white, he divides each canvas into two dissimilar rectangles. One segment plays off the other in terms of movement and stasis. Gestural strokes contrast with finer touches such as thin washes, texturing and layering. Nguyen says he’s inspired by the layered sounds of a jazz ensemble, and “Herbie” (as in Hancock) is the centerpiece of the show. Its top segment of tangled lines hovers harmoniously over a black rectangle where white vertical lines seem to drip to the edge.
While Nguyen’s work is meditative and reductive, Dan Pederson’s mixed media pieces are buoyant examples of the additive process. Starting with a wood panel, he builds upon it with small and haphazardly cut blocks, Plexiglas shards, crushed cans, ripped paperbacks and other barely identifiable castoffs. A given composition will start to resemble a child’s nonsensical but cherished memory box. Scrawls of paint and pastel crayon, sometimes spelling out words, bolster the impression that Pederson’s works aren’t meant to be deconstructed, just studied as experiments in agglomeration. “Guessestimation of my own” is among the more successful pieces, with an “X” of black and red wooden strips nailed down as if to hold all the pieces together.
The two artists are united in their love of music — Pederson, in fact, holds a relevant degree. But while Nguyen seems more attuned to music’s ability to soothe, Pederson is happy with a ruckus.