Teo Gonzalez: Eight Modern

Kathryn M David
12/01/2010

Known for dot-filled square canvases that suggest cell structures if seen from close-up and color-field abstractions from a distance, Teo Gonzalez recently upped the ante with a heightened color palette.

No longer simply gridded systems of dots within circles, his new paintings pulsate with vibrant hues, the compositions still ordered but less cerebral. The patterns writhe, wriggle, and weave across space, like momentarily stilled traffic seen from afar. Forms coalesce and disperse, but their source is difficult to decipher. Here and there, a collapsed Neo-Geo composition suggest itself, but, more often than not, Gonzalez’s paintings defy any notion of beginning or end.

The red paintings, at first glance, are almost too domineering for comfort. They suggest fire, evoking red-hot lava and its implacable movement. Black dots are the cooling rocks amid an expanse of flaming earth.

Gonzalez’s blue and blacks are otherworldly, something to study, like the starry sky on a summer’s night. And they convey the same sense of randomness. There is no recognizable iconography in these works; there is no code to be cracked. Disorder becomes a source of success. The one piece that didn’t follow that tenet, Seagram (2010), is surrounded by a flat painted border, seeming more decorative and less alive. Gonzalez does best when he allows his edges to blur into space, defying enclosure and definition.