Dots, Drops and Puddles: Teo González

Leah Ollman
03/19/1999

    Teo González’s recent paintings at Hunsaker/Schlesinger gallery have a delightfully split personality.  Their appeal rests on the equilibrium González orchestrates between the disparate impulses that spawn them.

    Each painting, whether 1 foot square or 9 feet square, consists of tens of thousands of dots of paint dropped onto the canvas in a grid pattern.  Reducing his palette almost exclusively to primary colors, González paints blue on red, yellow on blue, blue on blue and black on black.

    Typically, the paint in the first layer of drops is diluted and the second layer more opaque, resulting in small, nearly clear puddles with a dense dollop of pigment in the center and a concentration of, color along the rim.  Random constellations emerge within the grids, and in some paintings González aligns variably sized dots in bands. 

    Meticulous but not suffocatingly so, González’s paintings balance order and chance, consistency and deviation, geometric pattern and organic asymmetry.  Even at their biggest they feel modest, in part because they are conceptually narrow, but also because they are the materialization of a meditative act—a private performance of small, repetitive motions.

    More sensational in their chromatic contrasts than Agnes Martin’s work, González’s paintings have a similar interiority about them.  They breathe within the confines of their own proscribed method, as the artist’s nimble touch collaborates with the amorphous force of gravity.  What they produce together here is often radiant, surpassing what each could achieve alone.