Is the monochrome just another Modernist fallacy, or is it a weighty, meaty thing, engorged with paint and meaning? For his second solo exhibition at Andrew Rafacz Gallery, Matt Stolle continues his investigation of the monochromatic object. For Stolle, the monochrome is a convergence of historical properties: hard-edged abstraction, cool Minimalism, and Modernist detritus. With or without this history, though, the spare and solid monochromes simply feel good—to look at and to make.
Stolle plays with his monochrome. He crushes picture planes into three-dimensional objects and pulls them apart again. He coaxes symmetry from uneven shares. He glosses surfaces and tightens angles, sprays sheets of paint and joins piece to piece. It takes a lot of work to make something so spare. The objects are physical, tactile things, minimal and brute, but often contain small moments of visual delicacy. Yes, they are self-evident and whole objects. Yes, they are intensely formal, and they reward intense gazing.
As a maker, Stolle often creates challenges that require fixing. For instance, one support may be structurally unsound, so he secures it with layers of paint. Or a found square object may be missing its corner. To restore its symmetry, Stolle builds it out and matches its deep black color with graphite, a different medium with a similar tone. Such restorations are not painterly tricks or games, but rather tactics to help objects retain their integrity as objects. They are self-aware and physically present objects. This is either the phallus, or the fallacy.