Teo González

Jonathan Binstock, Curator of Contemporary Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art
08/01/2005

"Teo González (b. 1964) is that rare and revelatory artist who finds uncompromising freedom within the confines of a strictly prescribed working methodology. In this regard he belongs to a longstanding and perennially renewed tradition of artists who have demonstrated how intense focus and, it would appear, numbing repetition can yield extraordinary aesthetic insights. Like Josef Albers (1888-1976), Agnes Martin (1912-2004), Sol Lewitt (b. 1928), Jacob El Hanani (b. 1947), and Marco Maggi (b. 1957), to name only a few examples from different generations, González cultivates expansiveness out of restriction, potential where others see limitation.

Coming to terms with a González is a slow process of incremental discovery that begins with the surprising idiosyncrasies of each pointillistic cell. Examined from close proximity, these shifting, rhythmic marks in staccato are metaphors and microcosms of life, its chaos and caprice. Within each is a world of difference and variety. Perceived from a step or two back, the terrain changes and these worlds-in-miniature comprise a brew of monochromatic contrasts or elegant color combinations that achieve magically dynamic ends. When the pigment is viscous and shiny enough, aspects of a composition may be reflective and push forward beyond the support surface. When the finish is matte and the contrast great, elements may recede into imaginary depths. Pictures expand and contract; they seem to breathe. Whether the illusion is this or something else, it is the unpredictable result of a highly methodical and rigorous technique.

I see in González’s acrylic droplets the historical referent of Jackson Pollock’s dribbles. Certainly González’s amoeboid shapes do not point directly to the mid-century master’s skeins and latticeworks of paint, but his technique of using a brush (not a pipette, as others have written) to drop paint in a manner of controlled chaos signifies a key link to Pollock... Pollock’s greatest paintings have always functioned simultaneously as a juggernaut and an endpoint for a certain strain of art making and interpretation. Teo González is one of the few who have discovered in Pollock’s techniques a new and distinctive way of working. He has succeeded in creating a language that extends a dialogue about which it is often presumed the last word had been spoken."