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Nathaniel Thayer Moss
Hap Gallery, Portland Oregon
Recommendation by Richard Speer

Nathaniel Thayer Moss, "Synapse," 2015, acrylic on panel, 11 x 12"

Continuing through August 1, 2015

Complexity and simplicity wrestle to a draw in Nathaniel Thayer Moss’ exhibition, “Incision.”  The highly intricate compositions are limited to a color palette of black and white.  On one side of this elegantly boxy gallery only two paintings, both on hexagonal panels, hold forth against the ground of a black-painted wall. On the opposing wall (this one painted white) is a grid of 27 smaller paintings, all square. The exhibition has a dialectical gestalt — one of reconciling chromatic and compositional polarities.  

Although rigorously geometric, paintings such as “Chemtrails,” “Synapse” and “Zenith” do not come across as machine-made; the artist’s hand is evident in the marks and cuts left over from the taping-off process, a detail Moss wisely makes no effort to conceal. Notably the white space that reads as background in these paintings is far from monolithic; it has a subtly speckled surface, like stucco or marble dust. While some works seem to share lineage with certain strains of psychedelic album art, others, such as “Relativity” and “Protomid” are more indebted to Navajo patterns. While some pieces are dizzying, the overall feel of the installation is coolly cerebral and serene.

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