Missouri artist Ronald Clayton has a long history of exhibiting in Chicago, but strikes out in new, more abstracted territory with his body of geometrically grounded oil paintings.t
About the artist:
Ronald Clayton's work has been a strong pillar of the gallery since the mid 90s, and with this new body of work, the artist pushes his unmistakable and unique style into exciting new territory.
Clayton's new paintings almost burst off the wall with an unbridled new energy, and yet this energy finds it's counterpoint in a contemplative, formal restraint. This restraint is based both on the underlying geometry in the work, and the artist's empathic concern for the landscape that lies, at risk, just beyond the doorways and windows of his invented constructions.
Discussing this most recent body of paintings, Clayton says:
I have recently been acting out certain illogical impulses, retaliating against the logic of previous work. Sometimes it takes the form of reaction against the logical (mathematical) systems I've based my composition on. (linear perspective, the golden mean, etc). Pushing against, wrestling with, I often find myself thrown outside the "ring, the "ring" being my conventional rectangular format. The manifestation being new constructed paintings in which the subject defines the format rather than the customary visa-versa.
Even when I choose to adhere to the discipline of the conventional rectangle, which I just as often do, there are other logical inferences about my chosen subjects - colors, textures and forms associated with industrial architecture for instance. I've recently found these associations just too restrictive and so there are, in these paintings, wild improvisations and displacements of color and texture. Well, wild for me anyway.
Things have also changed in my views of the landscape. While previously I was concerned about documenting real locations objectively and then painting them back to nature, these new views are extrapolations, hybrids, and constructs. I am allowing myself to blatantly reinvent a nature that may be "super", or at least "extra-natural." There is one painting in the show in which the vistas seen through doors and windows are recycled and reconstructed out of glimpses and fragments found around downtown Chicago. - Ronald Clayton
The personal fictions present in the works of Ronald Clayton are both inspiring and challenging. Dualities are at play throughout the work: depth of space and articulated surface, the geometric and the organic, culture and nature, the familiar and the new. Clayton's two lynchpins are the biographical narrative of our experience with particular landscapes, and the imagined architectural ruins he places within them. In turn, we the viewers are placed in these ruins. We find ourselves admiring the work of the hands that created these mysterious structures, all the while longing to experience the untouched vision of nature just beyond our grasp. What a powerful metaphoric image of our ongoing search for a place in this world.