McKenzie Fine Art is pleased to announce an exhibition of new abstract paintings by James Lecce, opening Thursday, May 2, with a reception for the artist from 6 to 8 p.m., and running through Saturday, June 9, 2012.
Lecce’s longstanding process harmonizes painterly technique with the rhythms of nature and music to produce works of pure visual delight. In this, the artist’s fifth exhibition in the gallery, the soft colors and nearly monochromatic arrangements of the past have blossomed into a vibrant and contrasting palette of rich lemony yellow, deep coral, bright tones of violet, orange and pink, with accents of white and metallic colors. The colors are organized into expansive and undulating compositions with buoyant movement that appear to extend well beyond the edge of the paintings. Loose striations of intense color energetically flow between open pools of white and stream over the sides of the canvases. Iridescent metallic streaks provide movement and structure to biomorphic forms, defining figure-ground relationships and giving a sense of luxurious adornment. Lecce’s paintings are simultaneously organic and stylized; the colors and rhythms recall sensual pleasures while inducing reverie in the immediacy of paint.
Lecce’s process begins with the deliberate selection of colors and an overall composition. After the careful mixing of pigments to produce colors with the desired luminosity, opacity, or translucency, Lecce allows intuition and spontaneity to guide his hand. Natural forces and music influence the evolving painting. For this body of work, film scores from 1940’s and 50’s melodramas inspired him, with their dense swells, fevered crescendos, and solid closures. While working, Lecce responds to his auditory influences, manipulating the materials within the limitations imposed by the physical forces of gravity and the urgency of time. He pours, pools, injects, drags and layers paint in a controlled and intensely dynamic interplay of swift and decisive choices. The goal is to convey his heightened emotional state and intuitive movements through the elegance and visual excitement of the final work. For Lecce, the act of painting is “intense, adrenalin-inducing, joyous and cathartic.”