Olivier Mosset "Untitled" at Christopher Grimes Gallery- Art LTD (March/April 2011)
The new works by Olivier Mosset at Christopher Grimes Gallery follow the four-decade trajectory laid out by the artist, which questions the validity of painting and meditates on this predicament by painting work that denies any historical, emotional or aesthetic reference. Mosset's paintings are stripped of everything, and in the absence of any referent the viewer is forced to consider and then reconsider everything. Untitled consists of nine canvases each measuring 48 by 48 inches and each treated in a polyurethane finish. Snaking around three walls in the gallery Untitled coils around the physical and psychological space of the viewer. The viewer would be completely surrounded if not for Untitled (r), an over-sized square panel rendered in a lilac coat of polyurethane, which breaks the monotony of the series. Gleaning from one canvas to the next, little change is detected in the eggshell finish, which nearly disappears in the monotonous gallery walls. The blank abstraction employed in Untitled reflects Mosset's mediation on surface quality, texture, color, and subtlety. A slight change in the painted surface appears when the vantage point is altered slightly, revealing a shimmering effect embedded in the groves of the canvas.
Two pristine motorcycles created by Jeffrey Schad and Vincent Szarek boasts vintage engines and custom paint jobs of pot leaves and argyle stars with glitter trims on the gas tanks. Parked to the side of the gallery they appear less like utilitarian modes of transportation and more like coveted objects of art and popular culture. For all the referents that Mosset denies in his paintings, Schad and Szarek supply them to us with these motorcycles. The repetitive paint application of Untitled allows us to fantasize about the ferocious roar the engines likely bellow and consider how a bike with handlebars so far away from the seat can ever be ridden. The blank abstraction leaves room for the viewer to create their own narrative of riding a rare vintage motorcycle along a highway that looks as freshly paved and endless as the surface of Untitled.