Minimalissimo


English artist David Sawyer, working from his studio based in Louisville, Colorado, recently introduced me to his incredible and minimalist collection of grey grid canvas paintings.

While there is a large body of minimalist work involved with grids, straight lines and symmetry, Sawyer’s paintings are freehand, and the linear elements in them are far from straight, though at a distance there is a semblance of linearity.

The result is a subtle shimmer of movement as though the surfaces, though inert, create their own presence by vibration – almost sound-like.

The painted surfaces are rendered using a Japanese painting process called ‘Nihonga’, the paint being a mixture of mineral pigments and heated animal glue. The canvases are sensual, subtle, and there is movement among the close-valued hues on the canvas surface.

The canvases are created intuitively, in a process of orchestrating near-silence and near-stasis. As within the modern tradition of minimalism, allusion to form is not central to the painted surface. The imagery of these works comes out of an awareness of perfection and garners its energy from absence.

 

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