Teo González: 115, 117 Black and White

Zane Fischer
05/01/2003

Teo González will patiently punch you in the face.  The mild mannered Spaniard who calls NYC home these days, produces immediately eye-popping, brain-grabbing paintings that must take months to fully complete.  González applies “dots and drops” of enamel onto a matte acrylic surface, capitalizing on a contrast in sheen to get the viewer’s attention.  Add the benefit of black and white and Shazam! – all that time patiently arranging his dots and drops pays off with a visual grip like a sock in the eye.
This is not a bad thing, especially because it’s no cheap shot: González summons you to his work with the contrast and concentration of dots, but the work is no less engaging at a distant of several inches.  González lays his dots out on a grid, more apparent in smaller works than in the larger pieces, and each dot has a distinct character all its own.  Impressive, considering that each piece is named for the amount of dots it contains and the exhibit itself for a total number of dots in all the works combined.  González deftly adapts the scale of his dots and drops to the size of each piece, managing to imply a similar expansiveness regardless of dimensions.
There are two basic templates in the exhibit: black dots on a white background and black dots on a black background.  Although the black on black pieces are more interesting at close range than one might expect, they still left me with a sort of Vegas sequined shirt sensation that, all things considered, I could do without.  I suppose I’m just a sucker for contrast, but I found the black on white paintings to be among the most attractive things I could imagine hanging on my wall.  No matter the range they were viewed from, the dots were able to separate or coagulate in a seemingly endless cycle of recongfiguration; a glistening enameled cosmos of single-celled love, germs, churning wheels of perpetual motion, a packed urban sidewalk from above, an undulating rain of sub-atomic particles, striations of gravel and sediment, hieroglyphics, taste buds, a disciplined, minimal “lie brite” set.
Anyone with the attention to detail and obvious patience of Teo González might have ended up as a big game hunter or a nuclear weapons designer or a chemical engineer.  I’m grateful that he ended up as an artist.