Even the subtlest addition of pigment to pure color can radically change its intensity, but rarely does it increase the intensity. Add light to the palette of pigments and color theory becomes anachronistic. I won’t hold a color theorist’s hand to the candle; after all, they lacked the insight that the Los Angeles artists, known as the “Light and Space” group, developed with the use of plastics and aerospace materials and their associated translucent properties. The limitations of luminescence are detonated and the “painting” now has the power to burn our retina.
Steve Burtch is from a generation of artists that is looking at the optical effects that the SOCAL group deployed in the 60s and is conjuring these optical effects through a deeper exploration of the possibilities that the technological advancement of materials has released. The essence is still simplicity, allowing the intrinsic properties of the materials to do the heavy lifting; much the way a great chef allows their ingredients to caress the palette.
These minimal white works are composed of bands of acrylic white paint articulated through three layers of translucent acrylic sheets backed by a layer of mirrored acrylic. As the viewer “reads,” or in a sense “listens” to the rhythm of the painting, notes are muted or emphasized by the paints proximity to the surface. As light travels through the layers and reflects back through the acrylic, the result is an optical reverb, Burtch the maestro.