Chicago

Roland Ginzel

Wieghardt Gallery

From a punchout stencil, Roland Ginzel selects crescents, rectangles, triangles, and squares, places them upon a canvas, and paints them in. Each shape is set down on a relatively monochromatic field and the resulting paintings have interest beyond their individual success because each composition shows the same shapes in new relationships. To my knowledge, Ginzel has never exhibited the stencils themselves—enormous, handmade creations raised or lowered by a ceiling pulley—but they are valuable indications of the vocabulary from which he picks his combinations. The finished painted shapes continually refer back to the stencil, maintaining a dialogue between the finished work and the way that it was generated.

Frequently, in fact, Ginzel is absorbed in detail at the expense of the whole; and there often are too many shapes which function in too many ways. They work against a grid, they are locators on a field, they are holes in a surface, they are covers over a ground, they cluster in rows parodying the canvas, they intrude in corners. They even obstruct relationships set down by other shapes; for example, three little squares may mark the corner points of a larger triangle whose free space is unfortunately zapped by a crescent. Unity seems a result of accident rather than plan.

Added to this is the matter of color interaction. Ginzel treats each little shape like a painting. While the stencil is still on the canvas, Ginzel rubs, brushes, and daubs color through the perforation, allowing spots to bleed irregularly. The many shades and tints in various shapes and sizes are applied both thickly and thinly, causing spatial illusion and after-image. They obliterate, duplicate, and even triplicate any boundary lines. They are strong only when close tones cancel one another optically, thus lessening the impression of too much information.

Ginzel’s most recent work has been generated from these colorful canvases; he observed that their surface reflected window light almost like a sort of rainbow. Now he makes steel ledges, fastens them above eye level on the wall, and paints their visible surface white. The ledge itself optically merges with the white wall, but on top, painted lines of color reflect light, and the resulting chromatic reflection is the “piece.” It’s a nice gesture, but unfortunately these reflective ledges are not made to participate in any specific gallery situation. I first saw them as post-Minimal wall brackets, a cloudy day having totally undermined the gesture.

Ginzel’s studies for his reflective pieces, however, are collages made of paper strips, tissue, graphite, and colored pencil. The various segments of color are clearly distinguishable, unlike the mists of the wall pieces. This brings out the most interesting quality of the ledges: their demonstration that light brings disparate color segments together.

C. L. Morrison