Doulas Melini, Gary Petersen, Sarah Walker

Douglas Melini, Untitled, 2009z
Acrylic on canvas with handpainted frame
24 x 20 inches

September 8 – October 8, 2011

McKenzie Fine Art is pleased to announce its first exhibition of the fall season, a three-person show featuring the work of abstract painters Douglas Melini, Gary Petersen, and Sarah Walker. The exhibition will open to the public on Thursday, September 8 and run through Saturday, October 8, 2011. The opening reception will be held on Thursday, September 15, 2011. The exhibition explores how the artists, all of whom work in a geometric abstract vocabulary, create different modes of spatiality in their work.

Precisely executed plaid and stripe patterns animate the kaleidoscopic and symmetrical compositions in Douglas Melini’s colorful paintings. The artist thinks of his paintings as visual energy fields, a “type of geometric net for the viewer…a vibratory field. I’m very interested in how our body and mind respond to vibratory experiences.” In his paintings, Melini creates a space that travels inward, oscillating back and forth, folding and unfolding within the picture, rather than expanding beyond its edges. His hand-painted frames, with geometric forms that echo those in the paintings, contain this inward movement, and when viewed from oblique angles become an active part of the visual field.

Gary Petersen’s taut and angular paintings have a playful, almost dance-like energy and movement. His compositions are never static, as geometric bands zip across vivid fields of color, creating a dynamic pictorial space that flexes, bends, and torques. Employing a brightly colored palette dominated by yellows, pinks and blues, his fields and angular bands overlap one another, creating irregular geometric shapes within the paintings, with linear elements emerging from beneath earlier layers of paint. While citing such diverse pop-culture influences as animated cartoons, comics, and album-cover art, as well as early 20th-century abstraction, Petersen creates a rhythmic space within his paintings suggestive of the syncopations of jazz music.

Sarah Walker’s dense compositions of layered and overlapping fields of visual information have their sources in the physical worlds of geography, urban planning, and cartography as well as the dematerialized zones of the internet and the psyche. Walker grew up with hoarders and the experience led her to “ponder the landscapes I find intersecting me at all angles, dense and intense while not necessarily physical.” She considers her paintings “perceptual filters for spatial complexity…I knit them together in such a way that one absorbs them at the same time in hopes of creating a state of perfectly poised ambivalence, of yes/and. Not either/or.” The forms in her work emerge, transform, and decay, always leaving a trace of earlier layers. Set within acute grids, these masses of visual information appear to float weightlessly in an almost cosmological expanse that suggests infinite outward movement, or a quickly collapsing, tunneling space.

Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; on Saturdays the gallery opens at 11:00 a.m.