They have a certain nudity to them, these vibrant instruments. They only glister, at first. They are paintings that don’t reveal much thickness of visual event initially. It depends on what you are used to. They’re in your face but they don’t say much. They don’t say much but they want you to pay close attention. Pretty solicitous, and pretty mute. This re-calibration of what you are looking for is the main way these paintings work. It can go on for a while.
How do thin things, flat paintings on the wall for the most part, become thick? They exploit paradox. Broadly: they are both composed and they ricochet. They are tame and wild. Pictures, and objects. Frame-bound, and yet they operate in or organise the room. That is, the works increase their appearance.
The Umberg’s leap at you. They make the colour black radiate a lot of light.
One Knoebel sets up the colour red to topple its adjacent white panels and twist your eye. The painting seems composed for a while though. His four little painted boxes (DIN IV) stand proportionally a long way out from the wall and set up a cloud of angles around them.
The dark blocks in Bambury’s “Letter to Paul” look to sheer a little, out of the picture. The Innes’ paintings are oddly transparent and oddly opaque. And the Federle is in correspondence with the right angles in the room, a lot.
Some works stand proud of the wall, and one, Karin Sanders’ – well, I don’t know, recedes ? It’s bouncy ; quite ambiguous with respect to the plane it sits in, engaging the wall, like the Shroud of Turin, without the face.
These sensuous surfaces evolve over time, as in a movie, but much, much more slowly. At a speed of one half of a frame per second they go from sleek to gliding. It is painting behaving on the edge of sculpture. That is, by small means and materials, (colour, proportion, lines of sight) big means (space and light conditions, for instance) get excited. So far, so conventional. But the art of small things becoming big, of the more over less which these works argue, is absolutely intriguing. The only person who writes well about this ratio is Donald Judd and even he gets confused. The topic is paradox, again. How do various tight compositions end up loose ? Simultaneously restricted objects, and unrestricted signs ? Art hastens towards catastrophe. It should be bigger than its object. It must find a way to get out of the art object. Good art is a big switch.