Friday, November 09, 2018

Maureen McQuillan's Offset Drift on the LES

 Maureen McQuillan's exhibition opened October 12, 2018 (above, the admiring crowd at the reception) and closes Sunday, November 11, 2018. Offset Drift "refers to a technical term describing the fluctuation of electric currents or other phenomena that deviate from an expected norm," according to the gallery's press release.  Gallery Link 
Untitled (ODV/7XDHB), 2018. Ink and acrylic polymers on wood panel. Diptych 16 x 30.25 inches.
Since the early aughts McQuillan has immersed herself in the pursuit of suspending pigment on canvas, paper, photographic and acetate surfaces, light box and neon installations. Her early black and white compositions steadily increased in complexity to the multi-layered patterns and intense coloration of the work in Offset Drift. 
Untitled (ODV/8XLOD), 2018, ink and acrylic polymers on wood panel, Diptych 36 x 47.20 inches
Despite her willingness to share the process of their fabrication, McQuillan's paintings remain mysterious. By dripping and pulling luminescent color through polymer layers, she weaves patterns and folds that appear surprisingly sculptural. Embedded in their physical, object-like surfaces, the repetitive gestures induces an organic irregularity that speaks to gesture and its unforeseen results. Katherine Behar* writes in Botox Ethics-or Facing Necrophilia that "plasticity is a near-perfect description of the material quality of being an object," conflating objects with their performance: "Objects consist of plasticity; they perform plasticity's qualities." It is as if McQuillan channels the necrophiliac potential within human identity through automatic gestures that deviate in offset drift.
Untitled (ODV/4XDD), 2018. Ink and acrylic polymers on wood panel. Diptych 32 x 22.5 inches.
Referencing philosopher Catherine Malobou, Behar proposes that plasticity has two functions, the first sculpting ("a plasticity that models"), such as Botox or  art, and the second "disobedience," such as explosives. The concept and execution of Offset Drift encompass both in that internal shapes present new and intentional modes of drawing that yields visual surprises like the green on lower right as well as double mandalas and X forms.
Untitled (ODV/4XDD), 2018. Ink and acrylic polymers on wood panel, diptych, 32 x 22.5 inches.
Untitled (ODV/BXRGYG), 2018. Ink and acrylic polymers on wood panel. 15 x 15.75 inches.
McQuillan's expanded palettes harness luminescent color with neutral or tinted tones so that light flickers invitingly through suspended layers that connote water, wood or fire, compressing Plato's Cave within a wooden substrate.
Untitled (ODV/5XMTRC), 2018. Ink and acrylic polymers on wood panel. 11.75 x 11.50 inches.
Untitled (ODV/5XHY), 2018, ink and acrylic polymers on wood panel. 12.75 x 11.75 inches.

Untitled (ODV/3XDO), 2018. Ink and acrylic polymers on wood panel. 12 x 11-5/8 inches.
The recent commission for MTA Art + Design, Crystal Blue Persuasion (36th St. Astoria Line) has strongly impacted McQuillan's heightened color and design sense in these paintings.  She proves as proficient in glass as with paint. It bears noting McQuillan has worked extensively with photograms, which adds to the dual clinical and gestural aspects in her work. Go see for yourself. While you have the rest of your life to see 36th St. on the N line, there are two days left to visit Offset Drift.
Crystal Blue Persuasion, West Windows, MTA Arts & Design: N Line 36th St., Astoria.
The laminated glass windows stretch process into patterns, an offset drift of new technology.
Crystal Blue Persuasion, 2018, MTA Art & Design: N Line  36th St., Astoria - East Windows.

*Thank you artist colleague Felecia Chizuko Carlisle for introducing me to Behar's work--and person.


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