PRINT May 1979

Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe’s “North Group” Paintings

Contradiction provides the dialectic that makes it possible to see.1

THE PAINTING OF Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe is scientific in a Brechtian sense: it is subversive, consisting of structures that question the conventionality of structuring. The conventionality is, of course, pictorial. However, since the pictorial engages the perceptual and the cognitive, the process is, ideally, endless. One may reflect on the conventional nature of all relations—reflecting in a nonpassive way—for to see the conventional is to see that what seems “natural” or “essential” is in fact historical or conditioned, in a word, artificial, and thus subject to change. A painting rehearses or retards a convention (say, the linearity of the symbol) to define it as such and, perhaps, to allude to ideological consequences (say, a linear reduction of history based on such a model of the symbol). The tactic is itself ideological,

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