New York

Julian Casado

Touchstone Gallery

The line between invention and imitation is not always so clearly drawn as in McGee’s work. In Julian Casado’s gouaches the vocabulary of subtly gradated color and geometric forms is familiar. It is the structuring which encompasses a personal sensibility, while at the same time adhering to known rules of picture-making. Casado first covers his surface with a network of parallel lines, changing in direction to establish an underlying geometric pattern. The narrow bands between the lines are then filled in with carefully modulated hues which articulate the interior space. Most of the paintings use darker or less saturated colors around the edges to create a frame for the center door or window into a light-filled, infinite space. At the border of the opening, a circle defined by gradated lines of color both merges into and emerges from the surface. One is reminded of the empty stillness of de Chirico’s paintings, of a dreamlike surreal space which has no time or dimension. The circular shape acts as a symbol, a hermetic repository of significance which cannot be explained.

Yet none of these devices is new. Nor is their combination outside the realm of anticipated possibilities within convention. What involves one in the personal is the sense of labor, the piecemeal laying down of color which slowly builds into a whole. Although the final image may seem known, already given in prior experience, one’s feeling of participation in its recreation instills one with the wonder, not of discovery, but of rediscovery. Perhaps there is a middle term between imitation and invention, so that one might classify Casado’s work as reinterpretation.

Susan Heinemann