mathunderwood
Hugh Scott-Douglas, currently on show at Clint Roenisch. Lots of very Daniel Buren-ish stripe and pattern paintings, some of them inset into the floors, some made with layers of transparent fabric, and a few with rough handmade frames that don’t quite meet at the edges. Some abstract monoprints. Scott-Douglas is clearly interested in Op art, but his work is more tactile than purely retinal. It has a physical, dirty quality that would be totally alien to, say, Bridget Riley. There are a couple Brancusi-meets-Serra sculptures that balance blocks of raw steel in precarious columns. All the materials are very raw, purposely humble and improvised, and the color palette is extremely flat, only barely perceptibly straying from black, grey, and white into raw linen, navy, dried blood or acid green. Most instances of real colour appear in the form of a stain, and pretty much everything hovers between looking accidental and purposeful, somewhere between a meaningful sign and pure, inchoate blot (some of the fabric-covered paintings have barely visible splotches of paint on the canvas underneath). Everything looks very contemporary, implacable and opaque but suggestive, balancing harsh, industrial flatness with fragility and texture. I talked to the artist, and apparently his recent work is somehow inspired by the Watergate tapes and ideas about American conspiracy, which initially seemed like a faint connection — you’d never guess in a million years just by looking — but it makes a certain amount of sense: indecipherable codes, missing information, vague threats, vast and sordid powers conducting invisible maneuvers behind a screen of military-industrial secrecy…
I should emphasize that, while these works look cool on the web, pictures really don’t represent what they are like in person (especially the fabric pieces). Check out the show if you have the chance.

Hugh Scott-Douglas, currently on show at Clint Roenisch. Lots of very Daniel Buren-ish stripe and pattern paintings, some of them inset into the floors, some made with layers of transparent fabric, and a few with rough handmade frames that don’t quite meet at the edges. Some abstract monoprints. Scott-Douglas is clearly interested in Op art, but his work is more tactile than purely retinal. It has a physical, dirty quality that would be totally alien to, say, Bridget Riley. There are a couple Brancusi-meets-Serra sculptures that balance blocks of raw steel in precarious columns. All the materials are very raw, purposely humble and improvised, and the color palette is extremely flat, only barely perceptibly straying from black, grey, and white into raw linen, navy, dried blood or acid green. Most instances of real colour appear in the form of a stain, and pretty much everything hovers between looking accidental and purposeful, somewhere between a meaningful sign and pure, inchoate blot (some of the fabric-covered paintings have barely visible splotches of paint on the canvas underneath). Everything looks very contemporary, implacable and opaque but suggestive, balancing harsh, industrial flatness with fragility and texture. I talked to the artist, and apparently his recent work is somehow inspired by the Watergate tapes and ideas about American conspiracy, which initially seemed like a faint connection — you’d never guess in a million years just by looking — but it makes a certain amount of sense: indecipherable codes, missing information, vague threats, vast and sordid powers conducting invisible maneuvers behind a screen of military-industrial secrecy…

I should emphasize that, while these works look cool on the web, pictures really don’t represent what they are like in person (especially the fabric pieces). Check out the show if you have the chance.

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