Zack Stadel builds paint until it becomes an entity. No id. But there it is. As with a minimalist cube, it is the thing, not about the thing. Funny how that common impulse leads one group of artists toward purity and another toward the sewer. Zack’s paintings have the presence of a someone, but not the essence. Confrontation with this lump that resembles a head generates ambivalence. There is something alien and oddly threatening. But what can be learned if caution is thrown to the wind and the significance of this thing is allowed to become the field of focus?
Andrew Holmquist is a different sort. More interested in the way of life. And he’s not toying with whether there is someone who is on (or in) the way. There is definitely a someone. But the rest of it may not be so clear. There are all kinds of ways that a concise person is bigger than they are. Sloughing skin, technological embellishments that extend functions of astounding varieties. Words generate presence though we all know the author, the source, the body has been rotting away for years. Perhaps these conversations start Andrew’s investigations, but like celebrities in mug shots, these folks have something to hide. There’s something about what is left rather than something that is building. Nothing is happening, so there is discomfort in assuming that an event is the proper context.
The temptation is there to pronounce this a pair of portrait artists. They are colorists and painters. The paintings are exuberant with the right amount of cocksure bravado. But none of these really gets to the flavor of just how these two artists are dealing with identification.
Temptation begs to sum up this show, but the paintings resist. At the end of the day it is a struggle between what is concise and what gets left a little messy.