ERIC SHOTT & JAYSON WARD: TESSELLATED FLOW
At first glance Schott's paintings appear to be quite straight forward, insisting on an extreme clarity of both design and intent. Here there are few traces of the hand, even fewer of improvisation, and a kind of brute repetition that is hard to contest. But on a second take we find something else reveals itself. The patterning in Schott's systems is not pure repetition, but a repetition with differences, mirroring effects and optical twists. Both restrained and self-conscious, Schott's work is not just an extension of traditional geometric painting, but something else altogether.
In fact, his work takes more from Art Concrete than his So Cal forerunners. In this regard, his non-objective approach to image making is not necessarily related to notions of the absolute, essentialism or even Op-art for that matter. However, his pictures do engender a type of looking that is slightly accelerated from the norm, bouncing the eye from one side of the canvas to another through discrete shapes, vertices and graphic pathways. And one would be remiss not to mention that the reductive nature of his work is more conceptual than his Ab-Ex forerunners, relying on discrete reversals in logic, a semblance of game theory, and inverted geometries. And his particular vision of 'the absolute' in painting is paradoxically related to the fragment, producing what feels like slices of a bigger system yet unknown.
In other words, Schott's particular form of hard edge painting is constructed around producing a resonance with ages past, or even a looping effect that returns us to contemplating the presuppositions that have structured abstract painting over the course of the twentieth century. The grid, systems logic, reduction, and even a quality of virtuality all permeate his oeuvre, but in the sense of forming pictures that have a mixed or hybrid constitution. Not bound by the ethos of any particular school of painting, manifesto, or the rhetoric of auto-didactic measures, Schott's balanced coloration and active geometries invite us to look longer and to commune with his pictures by seeing an image of abstraction's non-linear history through rectilinear means.
Bio: Eric Schott, a native of southern California is a painter engaged with contemporary hard-edge geometric abstraction who completed his MFA at Claremont Graduate University this spring, and his undergraduate studies at California State University, Northridge where he won the Bensen Painting Award in 2010. In addition to his solo thesis show in February he has been involved with groups shows at Andi Campagnone Projects, the dA Center For the Arts, 50 Bucks Gallery in Pomona, Sam Maloof Foundation in Alta Loma, and at Objct Gallery in Claremont. Recently, he was awarded the Karl and Beverly Benjamin Fellowship from Claremont Graduate University.
The paintings of Jayson Ward are a series of sharp contrasts. Crisp geometric forms rendered quite delicately, well-known places depicted in the abstract, and naturalistic colors placed in a virtual space are all hallmarks of his art practice. In so many ways his paintings are about a kind of implacable quality that can only be described as a kind of virtual impressionism. Starting out from satellite imagery and elevation mapping programs, Ward has generated a new form of landscape painting that relies on a sense of simultaneity, topological reduction and optical filters. In this regard, his particular approach to landscape painting is set over and against the traditional dictates of local, mood and atmosphere.
Originally more concerned with mapping techniques and the notion of abstract painting as a kind of cartographic process, Ward's recent work has taken a turn toward radical reduction and an elegant simplicity of means. A deft sense of touch has replaced his formerly plastic aesthetic, a new dedication to the painterly act has replaced his earlier collage work and a broader dialog around the geo-political dimensions of image making has replaced more hermetic and/or local concerns.
In many ways, what is now most central to Ward's art making practice is picturing the technological sublime. In a time where the landscape is surveyed by armed 'predator' drones, eye in the sky surveillance and every other possible means of rendering the world in 'real time', the common condition of humanity has become that of a watched thing. What is usually missed in this dialog is that such a transformation of visual information also implies a new series of commitments in how we think about the problematic of landscape painting. Ward's paintings make us acutely aware of how dramatic this shift in perspective can be because his images are produced from a view that stands far above the ground, or rather, his paintings give us a new way of thinking about figure-ground relations in an age of naturalistic abdication.
Bio: Jayson Ward has degrees in both Geography and Studio Art from the University of North Carolina and the University of California Irvine. His work has been selected for exhibitions by such art world luminaries as Sarah C. Bancroft from OCMA and the critic and curator Juli Carson. He has shown at Catalyst gallery, The Twelfth Floor Gallery and Autonomie. He is going to be in a group show curated by Natalia Lopez that deals with Antarctica and topology this coming Fall.