Local art critic & curator Jeff Jahn's report on Victor Maldonado's exhibit Less:
Victor Maldonado at Froelick Gallery
A near ever present stalwart in the Portland art scene Victor Maldonado's "Less" at Froelick Gallery shows the artist moving beyond the general influence of his MFA at the Art Institute of Chicago and Sigmar Polke and more into his own voice (which springs from a personality that is persistent, curious and energetic). Moreover, it's a sly game of optics, funny formal elements and his trademark consumer commentary... only way more subtle and successful than before. As one of the brightest painters in Portland, it seems like it has taken him a while to integrate all that thinking into something, but now it has gelled. Ironically, "Less" is Maldonado's breakout show on all levels, conceptually, coherently and from all the chatter this show is generating, critically. All this is good as painters typically don't hit their full stride until their 30's or 40's, another of Portland's defining characteristics; artists here are actually allowed decades to develop (New York and LA not so much, although "develop" is a synonym for "struggle").
Technically, the green monochrome format of "Less" takes the onus off of painterly theatrics and comes of as a great leveler. Instead of showing us every trick he can pull off in each painting (lots of abstractionist make that mistake) Maldonado creates a field of green with golden disruptions. Because each panel is just an element in that field, each work individually and collectively supports one another. In essence, it is a community effort and the verdant green and each with its own unique mist of gold highlights asks the viewers to pay attention to minutiae and their own position in relation to the work. Technically there is no standardization in this community of monochrome green works. The effect is not unlike Agnes Martin's lines, Alber's collective color harmonies or Brice Marden's earlier more surface oriented monochromes."
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