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David Geiser
Butters Gallery, Portland, Oregon
Recommendation by Richard Speer


David Geiser, "Blue Nautilus," 2018, mixed media on panel, 60 x 44"

Continuing through May 26, 2018

In his exhibition “Phenomena,” neoexpressionist painter David Geiser exploits the materiality of oil paint, varnishes, resins, gold leaf, and a panoply of other media, reveling in creamy, coagulated surfaces and nuggety clumps of powdered pigment. In works such as “Purple Totem 1” and “Rose Cenote,” sumptuous purples play off billowing ecru, suggesting clouds or nebulae. Not all the works in the show are abstract; many riff on motifs from the natural world: shells, chambered nautiluses, and rhinoceros horns.  

Several are based on Geiser’s fascination with fungi and trees, in particular the notion that plants communicate with one another and exchange nutrients across great distances. In the “Blue Fungus” and “Gold Fungus” series, the East Hampton-based artist has attached to the wood panel an actual piece of hard, preserved fungus. This tactic can be gimmicky and over-literal. However, these strange, gnarled objects visually echo the paintings’ nubby textures and suggest a fluidity between aesthetic and organic realms. Throughout the exhibition, Geiser approaches his media as a sensualist, wringing every last iota of surface interest from his materials. As a colorist he counterposes bold cobalts and fuscias against ethereal teals and earth tones, creating painterly sonatas that are by turns arresting and sedate.


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