Developing the Language of Paint
Foster/White Gallery, Pioneer Square
Seattle WA June 5-28, 2008
Stephen Filla, Adrift and decompressed is the way I like it best (2008), oil paint, polymer resin [Foster/White Gallery, Pioneer Square, Seattle WA, Jun 5-28]
In his first solo show at the Foster/White Gallery, Stephen Filla creates provocative abstractions combining layers of oil paint and transparent polymer resin.
The Minneapolis artist, who recently received his MFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, bases his work on photographs taken during his travels to Vietnam and the Pacific Northwest.
His macro views of bark, moss, lichen, weathered stone and worn paint on buildings highlight the subtleties of the aged surfaces. Patterns of oxidized copper, rust, fractured stone and stained cement are meticulously magnified in his complex compositions.
Building on the tactile nature of his imagery, Filla distills elements of his photographs into deep fluid hues that recede against a sequence of fluctuating details, reminding us of the way water beads on a nonporous surface. Filla translates his initial source imagery into liquid textures that appear to occur naturally. His paintings are nonetheless reminiscent of the moody ambience often found in Northwest landscapes.
The true-life organic sensibility in Filla's work is an extension of his belief that painting is not separate from its environment, but rather is part of the ongoing continuum of space-time. He is interested in the associations and connections brought to a painting by different individuals, and allows the experience of a work to be continually reinvented and re-established by different viewers.