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Alex Steckly
Nationale, Portland Oregon
Recommendation by Richard Speer

Alex Steckly's meticulous bi-chromatic works are like Beach Boys songs written about Agnes Martin's car.


Continuing through March 24, 2013


Alex Steckly links chromatic minimalism with Southern California car culture in this elegant exhibition, "Entitlement." Essentially bi-chromatic, the works play one variable color against white backgrounds, which are rendered in relief. In "Untitled 3" light blue shapes appear to float within a tapestry of interwoven white stripes. The counterposition of hue and vertical/horizontal Cartesian grid creates moiré effects that boggle the eye. Steckly inventively employs techniques derived from automobile-painting, masking layers of paint and enamel with airbrushes, paint guns, and spray cans to achieve this.  


In a suite of untitled works, the artist’s approach to materiality and geometric composition is meticulous to the point of obsession; white-on-white stripes continue from the picture plane onto the paintings’ sides, like the fabric of a fine, custom-made shirt. Steckly is familiar to Northwest viewers from past shows at Fourteen30 Contemporary. The current works make clear the perfectionism that was evident in his earlier work was not just a phase, but an enduring style in the “finish-fetish” mode. If the Beach Boys had written songs about Agnes Martin’s car, Steckly could have designed the album cover. These are smart, sexy works that meld painterly and commercial techniques with élan.

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