Luis Tomasello

October 8 – November 14, 2009


James Harris Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition by Argentinean artist Luis Tomasello. The 94-year-old Argentine has been living and working in Paris since 1957. This is the first solo exhibition of his work in the Northwest.

Tomasello’s work was exhibited in 1965 at the Seattle Art Museum in the ground breaking exhibition titled The Responsive Eye organized by the Museum of Modern Art. This important survey of artists concerned with color and perceptual effects in formalist terms, was a response to the Expressionist mode of painting that had long prevailed. The Responsive Eye included works by Ellsworth Kelly, Agnes Martin, John McLaughlin, Larry Bell, Bridget Riley, Francis Celantano and many others.

For the last 50 years, Tomasello has developed a visual language that expresses movement through visual effects. By attaching angled cubes or pegs to create a repetitive pattern on a flat wood panel, the artist explores non-pictorial ways of imbuing an object with active surface play. Tomasello explores the optical effects of shapes and colors they produce on the viewer. In essence, a way of encouraging the spectator to engage with the austere physicality of his art objects. The work in this show at first glance primarily focus on the artist use of white and black. However, in the artist’s hands, these two colors are destabilized through interventions of shapes or subtle shift of color.

In the work Atmosphere Chromoplastique No. 863, three vertical and three horizontal rows of white cubes have been placed flat on the support to create a grid with 16 equally proportioned spaces. Within these 16 sections, the artist has oriented 16 cubes on their corner axes. The underside of each angled cube has been painted blue and green; giving the white hue of the work a subtle chromatic aura. It is only when the viewer moves to the side that the saturated color is revealed.

Tomasello’s work had been exhibited extensively. His works are in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Centre Georges- Pompidou, Paris, Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, Museo de Moderno, Buenos Aires, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo and may other institutions.

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