Alexander Kroll: Blue or Both

Blue or Both
September 6 – 29, 2012
Opening Reception: Thursday, September 6, 6 – 8pm

James Harris Gallery is pleased to announce Blue or Both, an exhibition of new paintings by Alexander Kroll. With his current body of work, Kroll continues to explore a language of abstraction that is, above all, conversational. As the result of the artist’s rigorous additive process, these paintings stress the notion of thought-as-object within the pictorial realm. For Kroll, a brushstroke is not only a new imprint on the physical world, its presence is also charged with the unseen processes that lead up to its formation; each gesture initiates a continuum of relationships between artist, canvas, viewer, and all spaces in-between.

Individually, Kroll’s compositions represent a collision of ideas that often culminate into the illusionistic space of ethereal landscapes, particularly in his large-scale pieces. These paintings are softer and flatter than his previous works, with a liquidity emerging in the form of emotionally-activated drips and splatters, and sheer veils of light and color blending like glass. Rather than pushing outwardly from the canvas with the thick materiality of the paint, Kroll’s new works lure the viewer into their veiled lacuna in an exploration of what lies beneath each layer. The painting “Ouroboros,” for example, whose title comes from the ancient symbol of eternal cyclicality, reveals a seemingly infinite network of colors and forms with high-contrast hues of teal and violet blending in and out of mercurial areas of gray.

A prominent gesture occasionally stands out as the subject of a painting, as in “Royal Tiger,” whose name serves to further animate the claw-like black curves that crawl out from a corner of the canvas. But more often these works concern themselves with their capacity to assert an identity as a whole, with each subtle articulation adding to the narrative in much the same way that a sitter in a portrait is recognized by their expressive idiosyncrasies. The layering of information within these paintings extends beyond the physical presence of the work of art, however. With his captivating pictorial fields, Kroll presents us with intriguing new realms that are both enterable and static, an anomaly of spatial navigation in painting that is as innovative as it is assured.

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