Triple Play, a three-person exhibition featuring new abstract works by Paolo Arao, Rhys Coren and Erin O’Keefe. While figuration has eclipsed non-objective work during the last few years, these three artists demonstrate that the field of abstract painting is also expanding in interesting ways. Bold in color and composition, made of atypical materials and using innovative processes, their works convey joy, play and experimentation while presenting visual conundrums that are not easily solved.
Paolo Arao presents sewn paintings that incorporate the patterns and colors of Philippine textiles from a queer perspective. They relate to Hard Edge Painting, Op Art, Pattern and Decoration, Supports/Surfaces and American quilt making. Made with commercial fabrics, repurposed clothing, hand woven fibers and weathered canvas, they convey history and intimacy. Drawing from the textile tradition of the Philippines, Arao uses the triangular format to suggest a torso or a shield, a diamond shape to symbolize a protective and watchful eye and he adds a patch of a different color or pattern as a traditional Philippine lucky charm.
Rhys Coren is presenting paintings that can best be described as painted marquetry. They consist of numerous pieces of MDF board that he paints separately and then fits together like a jigsaw puzzle. Because of his meticulous process, there is only a hairline of space between the pieces. His textured surfaces are achieved by a variety of spray-painting techniques–he varies the distance of paint spray, the temperature and the pressure. Once everything is painted, he assembles the pieces in a tray frame and glues them together. His titles (Forty-five Played at Thirty-three and I Turned Around When I Heard The Sound) connote the link to sound in his images.
Erin O’Keefe is presenting colorful abstractions that encompass painting, sculpture and photography. She creates objects in order to photograph them, including wood-blocks and panels painted in bright colors that she arranges under various lighting conditions so that brush strokes are visible and so that the resulting shadows create geometric forms. With skillful lighting and photography, serendipity and chaos, O’Keefe transforms real objects into brightly colored two-dimensional geometric abstractions. Her final output is a unique archival pigment print, that, by being unique, bolsters her connection to painting.