Don Voisine, McKenzie Fine Art, New York, NY



Don Voisine, Connection, 2007
Oil on wood, 17 x 26 inches

April 30 – June 6, 2009
Opening: Thursday, April 30, 6-8pm

McKenzie Fine Art presents an exhibition of new paintings by Don Voisine. The artist has participated in several group exhibitions at the gallery in recent years, including a two-person show with Mark Dagley in 2007; this will be his first solo outing at the gallery. A catalogue with an essay by Deven Golden will accompany the exhibition.

Voisine hails from Maine and has lived and worked in New York City for over three decades. He has exhibited his work nationally and internationally since the early-1980s. His geometric oil on wood paintings can be described as straightforward and reductive: rectangular bands of black dominate the center, overlapping lighter fields of beige or white. The hard-edged forms are bordered by bright bands of contrasting color of varying width. In some instances the paintings are bisected to produce two fields of form and color that play against one another.

Using a strict geometric language, limited palette and consistent compositional format, the artist achieves a remarkable diversity within a narrow framework. For example, the central black areas in the paintings, rather than appearing monolithic, have a subtle yet rich variety of tones, weight, and illusion of depth or flatness, all achieved by employing directional brushwork and variations in surface finish. Voisine’s edges are taut and sharp, and there is an inner tensile strength expressed in the forms. Even in the emphatic diagonal movement in his Xs, there is a feeling of containment within the picture frame, and an implication of spatial depth. The scale of the works ranges widely, from small twelve-inch squares to long five-foot horizontals. The surprisingly bright color bands provide a rich contrast to the somber predominant blacks, and add weight and movement to the paintings. The playful colors can be inspired by a locale or an event, such as the yellow and green tones of Michelle Obama’s outfit worn on inauguration day.

Voisine’s paintings are notable for their nuance and sophistication, as well as their quiet drama. In his essay for the catalogue, Deven Golden notes:

“Geometric and flat as they are, and as counter-intuitive as it may be, it is clear that the painting’s dimensionality is striking, insistent, and multi-faceted. It is a dimensionality that resonates beyond itself, moving up from the black centers, evoking thoughts that are complex and deep as they are open-ended: what are the boundaries of the world around us, what are the limits of seeing, how does the infinite reconcile with our own finite existence.”