Todd Chilton’s relatively small and intensely colored abstract paintings layer patterns that are bounded by the edge of the canvas, leading you to believe these paintings are easily graspable. The exhibition title, Stairs and Ramps, references the flat and manipulated space of computer games and, as well, ways to move by foot or wheelchair through architectural space. At the same time, it is also just two ways to graphically read a triangle, the shape that is the basis of the patterns in most of these paintings. Titles of the paintings point to alternate readings of what may be initially perceived. Geometry is undermined by handedness.
As the artist has noted, all these things “serve to create a situation in which the viewer becomes aware of the experience of looking. I want to create images that convey at once a sense of ambiguity, purposefulness, and humor. At times they have a sense of openness on one hand and resistance on the other. I am interested in what happens in the middle. Meaning comes through determined imprecision, broken or sagging structures, and the obvious hand that created the painting. This underscores the physical experience that takes place between a viewer and my work through surface, scale, and optical qualities, which subvert, or sustain, a sense of balance.”