Chicago

Rodney Carswell

Roy Boyd Gallery

Rodney Carswell’s recent paintings are acts of great cunning: they fuse scrupulous craftsmanship with wry sequences of subtle dislocations that call his entire enterprise into question. He typically employs the pristine pictorial language of Modern geometrical abstraction in slightly skewed and amended forms, altered just enough to keep his compositions tense and expectant. As in the work of Robert Mangold, regularity of design becomes the field for surprising formal disjunctions.

Take, for example, 3 Colors Bordering An Irregular Empty Shape, 1991; here, as always, Carswell lifts his surface off the wall on a wooden cradle like an esthetic trophy. Familiarity with his work suggests that a structurally tangential crossbar, partially filling the empty void at this work’s center, is not employed unintentionally. A somnolent and meandering sequence of gray, brown, and blue squares of rich oil

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