Blues and the Abstract Truth
September 6 – October 20, 2018
Gregory Lind Gallery is pleased to present a new series of oil-on-wood paintings by Don Voisine. His reductive geometric compositions engage the viewer in a deep contemplative process that gradually uncovers their complexity and density.
The imagery is made up of overlapping rectangles or squares painted in black or blue, sometimes in red or white. Hard-edged forms abut bright bands of contrasting colors. The smooth surfaces are seldom uniform, as Voisine juxtaposes transparency and opacity through varying the density of the paint. He often overlays matte geometric shapes with glossy ones, interrupting these spaces with a (rarely pure) white or an intersecting solid plane. The result creates not only a sense of movement but also an architectonic or sculptural feeling of space.
While the forms in Voisine’s earlier paintings were almost exclusively black, here he has chosen to work primarily with a blue palette, taking the name of the exhibition from Oliver Nelson's influential 1961 jazz album, The Blues and the Abstract Truth. According to Voisine, “Blue is not as weighty as black…it’s lighter, with a different emotional temperature. Black symbolizes the void, emptiness, absence of light, negativity—characteristics that I’d like to contradict and want to move away from. Blue has a sense of melancholy but also a sense of possibility, potentiality, optimism. It is often associated with depth and stability.”
The collected works are either square or vertical in format rather than horizontal, connoting an upward motion of reaching and aspiration. It is the orientation of the portrait rather than the landscape, and as such, renders a certain immediacy and intimacy. In these pieces, we get a sense of material objects inhabiting space even as they are presented to us as flat surfaces. Reflecting on these works, we are invited to draw our own conclusions, linking the intangibility and indeterminacy of inner space with the conundrums inherent in the perception of outer space. These are works that evoke endless depth, emptiness, possibility, and dynamic movement within formal constraints. Compositional elements including space, light, color, and form combine with a viewer’s perception to stimulate experiences of the sublime that exist beyond language.
Don Voisine was born in Fort Kent, ME. He attended the Portland School of Art and Concept Center for Visual Studies in Portland, ME. His recent solo exhibitions have taken place at McKenzie Fine Art in New York City and Robischon Gallery in Denver, Colorado. In 2016, the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockland, ME, presented a 15-year survey exhibition of Voisine’s work. His public collections include: About Change, Collection, Rottach-Egern at Tegernsee, Germany; American University Museum, Katzen Arts Center (Corcoran Legacy Collection), Washington, D.C.; National Academy Museum, New York, NY; Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA; Colby College Museum, Waterville, ME; and the Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME. A member of American Abstract Artists since 1997, he served as president from 2004 to 2012. In 2010, he was elected to the National Academy of Design. His work has been reviewed in Art in America, Art News, The New York Times, The Brooklyn Rail, and Hyperallergic, among many others. In 2000, he received an honorary BFA from the Maine College of Art. He exhibits regularly in the U. S. and Europe. Voisine lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.