Night Gallery is pleased to announce Passage, an exhibition of new works by Andy Woll. This is the artist’s second solo exhibition at Night Gallery.
Known for his chromatic paintings of Mt. Wilson, Woll here presents a suite of new works that include mature iterations of his mountain paintings alongside abstract pieces made simultaneously. Taking cues from the practices of Modernist literary figures, most notably James Joyce, his painting process relies on a method comparable to automatic writing. Painting from overhead, he allows chance to create calls for formal logic, giving rise to a pictorial style at once rigorous and intuitive. His new canvases feature thick applications of oil paint in spare gestures, often employing an exuberant color scheme. Drawing from Joyce a concept of enlargement as a tool of abstraction and abstraction as a tool of investigation, these large paintings often take origin in small experimental works, or “passages," whose palettes are magnified and elaborated upon.
The titles of the works appearing in Passage each make reference to appearances of Hades within Robert Graves’ The Greek Myths, denoted by the specific chapter and section number of each excerpt. These quotations – passages – perform a magnification similar to Woll’s paintings, each fragment taking on a newfound significance in isolation, gesturing toward the ineffable underworld. Again Joyce’s influence manifests in Woll’s work, here through the invocation of Greek lore. Through this use of citation, Woll’s paintings become themselves passages, drawing the viewer toward the mythological unseen.
Taken as a whole, the paintings of Passage present a series of centers, at once directional and limitless. Woll’s paintings circumvent the notion of an ultimate goal to instead inhabit a cycle of perpetual exploration. The paintings appearing in Passage thus serve as exactly that, a passage, a sustained state of pursuit without conclusion.