West Los Angeles—
Don Sorenson's productivity is surprising considering the elaborate
brushwork and taping required to finish just one of his painting.
Often as many as nineteen colors are layered in both tight and
loose gestures. Deceptively simple zigzag motifs overlap, intermingle,
weave, then separate, hooking your eye in their complex journey.
This weblike network then unifies. It becomes atmospheric, like
fog curling around you, drawing you into its depths. Sorenson's
intentionally offbeat colors alternately offer anxiety and rest,
adding to the diagonals' energy.
his unabashedly beautiful abstract paintings from a love of that
medium, now out of fashion, at least in some contemporary circles.
A spendid selection of three year's work informs us that while
Sorenson paints, he also thinks.
modernist pictorial concerns such as flat to deeper space, overall
gridlike composition, large scale and expressive gesture, Sorenson
integrates them with a unique vocabulary of dualities.
Jim Murray offers a handsome catalog with a forward by Nicholas
Wilder and an informative introduction by Melinda Wortz., gallery
director at UC Irvine. From the spacing of Sorenson's large canvases
throughout several rooms, three categories emerge which reveal
conscious analysis of his process.
In the Painterly
series puffs and squiggles of brushed flesh tone intermingle
with the taped lines of a multihued grid. A connection to pop
art exists in the lightning bolt and cloud images and in the comic
book colors. The working out of figure to ground ambiquity is
perhaps too obvious when compared with later paintings.
A softer emotion
comes through the Curved Diagonal series, while the background
stabilizes as a needed anchor for the nervous energy of the lines.
Subtle colors are introduced and show Sorenson's awareness of
light. To me the images suggest a microscopic view of something
large, as if they are fiber bundles.
illusions fade in the Field series, where figure and
ground compete equally, producing waves of kinetic energy. Their
oscillating motion is like static in sound where volume and pitch
change according to various interruptions. Here is Sorenson's
most complete synthesisof modernist rhetoric with his own passion.
stylistic polar opposites such as "Intellect and emotion,
order and randomness, control and accident, stucture and chaos,
straight line and amorphous color, gloss and matte, literal flatness
and illusionistic depth, figure and ground" (to quote from
the catalog). He uses them with a oneness of spirit and a direct
intention, thus unifying them. What at first seems contradictory,
chaotic activity becomes smoothly resolved in each piece. These
are stong and bright works that stand on their own, yet are also
responsive to the light of their environment. Interacting with
it, they take on another, deeper life.