Critics’ Picks

Jon Pestoni, Three Sum, 2013, oil and mixed media on wood, 72 x 48".

New York

Jon Pestoni

Real Fine Arts
673 Meeker Avenue
September 28 - November 2

Of late, Jon Pestoni has layered successive marks, figures, and scrims of oil paint on canvas, and for this exhibition—which includes seven works, all created in the past year—he applies the same technique to a new support of paper mounted on board that has been encrusted in areas with cat litter. The cat litter is sifted and spray painted for texture before it is adhered to the paper, and it protrudes sometimes as much as half an inch to grab different paint layers, like a zombie canvas weave. This leads to a localized color incident, as the brush is drawn across the raised areas from different directions, and to aqueous runs that fall down the otherwise smooth surface. That said, Pestoni’s layers still mostly cancel each other out as they are allowed to dry between applications.

Three Sum (all works cited, 2013), shows an armature of vertical black bars covered by the outline of a cartoonish figure, which is then painted over laterally in white with two final arching gestures in red. In Spanish Flu, three vertical bars of white are painted over in blue and then brushed out with horizontal bands of white before a final application of vertical red, yellow, and blue strokes, which make green, orange, or brown in their margins. Here the layers almost lock into a grid, but the twisting substrate of cat litter gives a sense of uncontrolled motion. As in his previous paintings, Pestoni’s layers obstruct and interfere with each other; however, his substitution of paper and cat litter for canvas causes more interaction in the translucent veils of paint, in the patches of gravel, and along the margins, suggesting the possibility of synthesis.