New York

Paul Brach

André Emmerich Gallery – Downtown

In contrast to Vessa, Paul Brach stresses the optical rather than the conceptual aspects of seeing in his paintings. His information is on the surface, to be assimilated by the eye instead of interpreted by the mind. Using the pointillist technique of optical mixture, Brach creates flickering bands of color-light from tiny dabs of color. For instance, in Horizon No. 3 the canvas is covered with horizontal rows of blue gray diagonal brushstrokes. Near the bottom of the painting there is a band of loosely spaced dots of light red purple and unsaturated orange lying on top of the gray. The effect is a visual division of the canvas, for below the band the gray seems greener than above. Moreover from a distance one has the sensation of a ray of light moving across the surface. Because of the small size of the dots and their relatively distant intervals, the change in hue is subtle. The image borders on invisibility.

This ghosting of form can best be seen in Diamond, where tiny specks of pale color trace vertical lines on the white background. The ends of these lines prescribe a diamond shape for the white area left in the center. However, the outline is never definitive. The diamond pulsates, emerging as a clear image only to fade again into the overall whiteness. In the midst of the current emphasis on the tangibility of painting, Brach remains an advocate of the intangible. His involvement is with the optical effects of color rather than the physicality of the surface.

––Susan Heinemann