PORTLAND PAINTER Ted Katz is part of an enviable generation, perhaps the last, which lucidly understands the parameters of directly applying medium to a flat, square or rectangular support, creating a wholly self-referential statement which through its artist-assisted exponential growth of line, shape, colour and texture can shape its own synchronous resolution. This is not so much a "style" as it is a covenant between the painter and his materials -- that the only allowable subject of a painting is paint -- and that these parameters also exclude a lot of other extraneous things such as autobiography, language, copying from the visible universe, propaganda, record-keeping and home decoration: strictly a private discourse, which eventually may become public. The reward the painter gets, by adhering to the rules of this game, is that without further shilly-shallying, he can set up the board (as in chess) and start all over again, confident that there is really no beginning and no end to possibilities and that each time he has no idea what will happen. The prospects are exciting and simply inexhaustible.
First confronting a Katz painting is like inadvertently interrupting a heated discussion among painterly elements. The elements may stop talking and glare at you. Excuse yourself, and presently they go back to their discussion. If you are lucky and alert, they may invite you to join in. If you lived with such a painting, the discussion would resume each day when the sun came up, and it is likely that you would never completely commit it to memory. Not like Whistler's Mother or the Mona Lisa.
© Ted Lindberg