Scott Blaser, Swirl/Slice #1 and Swirl #11. Courtesy of the artist.
By Teresita Dennis
There is something undeniably fragile about the solid blocks of greys and blacks that comprise some of these works. And then again, there is something undeniably grave about their lightness of touch. I can’t decide if one description is closer to the experience of them than the other, so I will have to settle for both.
Whether he works with squiggly lines drawn with an exquisitely steady hand or prints lines and lines of inky blocks, there is something strange and unfamiliar about the quality of the surfaces and how they function. The lines and blocks will not stay still, they threaten to float apart and away, shimmering at the corner of my eye like flotsam on a thermal.
Oh and there are veils, that open and close or at least, they tease and promise that they will do so.
It’s true that on the whole, Blaser’s work belongs to a tradition that includes the gestural abstract painters of the fifties, and the more controlled performative drawing based practices such as Agnes Martin, Brice Marden and Ian Davenport, so already we have an arena whose poles are clearly defined both conceptually and practically.
But these new works are not some cool attempt to merge traditions or comment upon the lack or otherwise of the ‘this or that’ of history, although they may do that, very well.
No, I know Scott, I have listened to him speak about his work and his life in one breath and I’ve heard him talk about breath, in his work and in life and he has arrived at this juncture precisely because of that transmutability.
There is something undeniably fragile hiding beneath the certainty and vibrancy of the everyday and I think that once you get a glimpse of that, it takes your breath away. When I look at these works I can hear the breath being taken away, and, just as I start to worry I hear it return and with it comes a flicker of colour here and a little sparkle there.
Oh yes, here comes the everyday, and how it makes me smile but at the same time, I have to say, a little tear stings my eye.
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
You know what?
There’s something undeniably wonderful about that.
Scott Blaser, Progression. Courtesy of the artist.
Teresita Dennis, an artist living and working in London, explores the relationship between seeing and saying by using language to articulate both her relation to painting and the paintings themselves, in order to examine, re-evaluate and confront them anew.