Horror vacuui‹fear of empty spaces‹is a term frequently applied to the work
of outsider artists, wherein every available space is obsessively filled
with repetitive detail. The five artists in this exhibition are far from
"outsiders"; they have all received formal art training and have a
respectable number of exhibitions and reviews filling out their résumés.
However, an element of the obsessive drives each of their processes.
Intensity, extreme focus and concentration, minute detail, and repetition
are common to each of these artists∂‚ works.
Magnification is also a shared traitâ€¹whether applied literally in the use of
a magnifying lens in the processes of Roger Ackling and Jay McCafferty, or
figuratively in the sense of perceiving something that would otherwise be
invisible to the naked eye, as in the work of Jacob El Hanani, Marco Maggi,
and John Andrews. The works in this exhibition compel the viewer to get up
close to inspect what is going on. This process of intense looking‹a
narrowing of focus-‹results in a gradually unfolding awareness of tiny
nuances and details, revealed over time. Thus the depth of concentration
involved in the making of the work results in a similar intensity of focus
in the viewing experience.
Using ink on paper, Jacob El Hanani makes tiny, delicate marks, repeated
over and over. Each drawing evolves from a specific set of parameters
within which a pattern takes shape, creating a field that undulates with the
rhythms of the minute lines. John Andrews makes paintings from beeswax,
pigment and pinpricks. Grids of points are marked onto wax surfaces in
series of layers. As the layers accumulate, the geometry of the grid
dissolves into swirling, amorphous clouds and what begins as order ends in
mesmerizing chaos. Marco Maggi∂‚s dizzyingly minute drawings incorporate his
private vocabulary of densely packed, encrypted markings evoking computer
circuitry and topographical maps. Whether etched into aluminum foil or
drawn in pencil, his references, he says, are "pre-Colombian and
post-Clintonian." Using sunlight and a magnifying lens, Roger Ackling burns
horizontal rows of dots into the surface of found pieces of wood. Bits of
furniture and worn fragments washed ashore are transformed and given a new
life through a series of tiny conflagrations. Jay McCafferty also uses a
magnifying lens to make his work. His controlled solar burns occur at
precise intervals upon painted and pigmented papers. The burns act as marks
and excavations revealing an understructure composed of many-colored layers.