A small change can make a big difference in the work of an artist such as Toe González. For years, Brian Gross has shown abstract paintings that González made by placing ever-varying droplets of liquid pigment within a fine, strict grid on a monochrome ground.
The inevitable inconsistencies in the droplets’ size and drying pattern set up a visual flicker that seems to meet the saccade of the eyes halfway.
González uses the same technique in his recent work at Gross, with one key difference: He now constructs his grids freehand. When González lays down thousands of touches of pigment, the loosening, warping effect of working freehand gets magnified.
In “Untitled #348 (10,000 Black on Red Direct 100 Gauge)” (2004), the irregularities in the grid seem to pull the picture surface itself out of shape, making the eye swim.
González has found an enlivening complication within the constraining terms he sets for himself. In most of the work on view, the new complexity deepens the viewer’s sense of González’s painting as a response to the world, an implication not easily communicated by such abstract means.
Squint the mind’s eye and watch the world of your experience and you may well recognize the traffic of unpredictable fluctuations within confining structures that Gonzalez shows us, minus all reference.