Color systems in painting
In keeping with one of Raid Project’s curatorial approaches this exhibition is an attempt to allow similar works of art to find interrelationships between them that expand on a theme. Not as a justification of the curator’s concept but as an exploration of the divergencies. These artists share several points of reference- their love of color, a systematic approach and a refusal to allow the work to sink into a singular, logic bound definition of meaning.
These are references here to the modernist grid with all its ramifications, to the work of Stella, Halley and Mondrian and others, while still finding new avenues for the content to play itself against. Although this seeming drive to order is apparent it is balanced by the need to also relate to a more open-ended flux of potentialities. A touch of the Utopian and a healthy accommodation of pure visual pleasures is combined with a conceptual free-spirited playfulness, in the sense of play as an exploration of possibilities.
They have a taxonomical assembling of knowledge that engages the materials themselves while seeking a dichotomy-less relationship to content. A content which ferments an unpredetermined shifting of boundaries and new meanerings of thought. The implication here it is of the boundless extension of associational linkages within already formed sytems of logic
These works are beautiful, yes, but more importantly they attempt a perfection, with undisguised Hope, a truly Californian ideal (although they are not all CA natives), accepting both the historical limitations of the methodology and refuting these by way of an implanted Uncertainty Principle of understanding, hidden beneath the carefully wrought surfaces.
Max Presneill, Los Angeles 2002
For KALEIDOSCOPE Exhibition, “On Systems in My Paintings,” by Joan Kahn:
System (Random House College Dictionary, 1972):
Any formulated, regular, or special method or plan or procedure
When I start a painting I arrange the shapes (geometric stripes and rectangles) intuitively. Over time I have grown to know my own aesthetic and usually choose a minimal composition of several overlapping stripes and rectangles. The proportions of the shapes are also intuitive. Some years ago, when I started this series of works, I used mathematical relationships and geometric progressions (1:2:4:8:16:32 or 1:2:4:16:256 for examples) to dictate proportional choices, but found that my own intuition worked as well and better for decisions about proportion.
I do use preformulated systems for texture and color decisions. For example, I might decide that in a certain painting all horizontal stripes control textures of overlapping areas, or that all overlapping areas determine color equally. In all my compositions initial decisions about local color are based on how a color holds a space, or how a color makes an object push or pull. All my paintings are similar, but each painting has its own logic, and I create that logic system initially in designing the image small scale on the computer, and later when I paint, depending on my intentions for that painting.
It is significant that my intentions for each painting come from a subjective feeling for the image itself. This feeling comes out of disparate associations and references to landscape, architecture, the history of art, the history of humans, and concepts of beauty, horror, joy, tragedy, and humor.
Joan Kahn, Pasadena 2002