Critics’ Picks

John Zurier, Postlude, 2014, distemper on linen, 25 5/8 x 17 1/2".

John Zurier, Postlude, 2014, distemper on linen, 25 5/8 x 17 1/2".

San Antonio

John Zurier

Lawrence Markey
200 E. Grayson Street, No.104
March 21–April 25, 2014

John Zurier’s latest exhibition brings together a collection of six paintings based on the artist’s recent travels to Iceland. Barely illuminated by the natural light in the gallery space, the Minimalistic works are quiet and contemplative, asking the viewer to soak in the ambiance of each painting in its setting. It is a meditative show that requires a commitment of time—throughout, the brushstrokes are nuanced, almost elusive, causing the works to begin to speak among one another in suggestive ways. The paintings are gestures of simplicity that balance lyricism and composition, and are as ephemeral in their nature as the fleeting moments of the Icelandic landscape from which Zurier draws his inspiration.

Each canvas lacks gesso—the canvases pile in folds around the frame—and the artist’s marks are so transient that the paint seems to quietly fade away. In Votilaekur, 2014, for example, the artist has applied a beautiful cerulean hue in thin coats, a tactic that allows the strokes to stay evident in most places. The thinly layered pigment hardly covers the brown hue of the canvas, and the work is reminiscent of the vibrant greens and blues of the Icelandic landscape. In a play between aesthetics of light, application of pigment, and tonalities on the surface of the canvas, the works capture the impermanence of the atmosphere over land.