Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Urban Scintillations

Urban Scintillations

By Tom Wachunas

   “We become intoxicated with color, with words that speak of color, and with the sun that makes colors brighter.”  - André Derain

   EXHIBIT: PAINTINGS by Christopher J. Triner / in the Fountain Gallery /  on view THROUGH DECEMBER 10, located in the Johnson Center on the campus of Malone University, 2600 Cleveland Avenue NW, Canton, Ohio / Gallery open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.– 6 p.m., and closed when there are no classes in session.

   On one level, there’s something delightfully retro about the seven recent paintings that comprise this exhibit by Christopher Triner. Think of France in late 1905, and the reactionary Salon d’Automne in Paris. There, André Derain and his illustrious co-rebel, Henri Matisse, showed some of their radical new paintings. The innovation of those works was lost on the critics, one of them curtly dismissing the paintings as “les Fauves,” i.e., “the wild beasts.” Still, the name stuck, and Derain and Matisse were soon recognized as establishing yet a new, vivid painting style in those already eclectic times, thenceforth dubbed Fauvism.

   Wild indeed. The landscapes, portraits, and urban scenes by the Fauves were veritable explosions of untamed colors. They made even the most experimental of Impressionist works feel conservative in comparison.   

   Similarly, Triner’s acrylic architectural landscapes here were designed to dazzle. His hues are so saturated and luminous that the canvases themselves can seem like they’re extruding real sunlight.

   Much more than a simple throwback to the Fauvist aesthetic, however, the luminosity of Triner’s paintings is not an opaque one. Through the layered translucency of his colors, the canvas surfaces are alive - gently excited with a rich array of painterly underpinnings.  There, undulating shapes, patterns, and subtle textures all contribute to a sense of liquid depth.  Familiar structures and skylines – some of them local - are morphed into mesmerizing, crystalline etherealities. In this beautifully painted urban milieu, architectural materiality becomes palpably, even joyously…spiritual.

   If you’ve not seen the exhibit yet (my apologies for this late posting), I highly recommend a visit. And bring your sunglasses.

   PHOTOS, from top: Fountain Gallery installation / Stark County Courthouse / Graphic Canton / Graphic Cleveland / Graphic North Canton

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