Teo González: New Alchemy

Martin Irvine, Director, Irvine Contemporary
08/01/2005

"Unlike geometric and minimalist art, a González painting is not a rendering of a concept existing independently of the work; rather, a González work is a record of the artist’s process in working out the interplay of geometric and organic form, of pigments and medium, of paper and canvas as materials with their own substantial form. The drops and transparent cells that linger as marks of the artist’s process resolve into other compositions that embody a dance or rhythm of life distinctive to each work.

Gonzalez’s striking new color palette—copper blue grounds and copper metallic pigment—opens up his way of working to reveal new reflections on materials, and also completes the course of his painterly alchemy by subsuming earth, air, fire, and water in new harmonies of color. Copper, as a color and a metal, has deep resonances going all the way back the alchemists’ central symbol for earth, and the blue copper pigment ground of the new paintings lead us up to air and sky again.

González’s earlier black and white signature paintings, involving a gridwork of transparent cells with their finely diluted medium and suspended pigment, evoke water and the interplay of organic forms with space, time, and air. His more recent works on canvas and paper with other highly saturated pigments—cadmium red, Prussian blue, and cerulean blue—also pushed his approach to new color relationships with their own rich associations. His compositions with copper pigments emerge onto an entirely new level of conceptual unity: evoking only a memory of an underlying grid and the explorations with pigment and color in his earlier work, the new paintings are a fusion of mineral and organic, process and color. González’s new alchemy makes us see anew, transforming the elements of earth and life into light."