Kasarian Dane


The seemingly imperturbable surfaces of hard-edged geometric abstract painting can conceal deeper passions, and such appears to be the case with the recent work of upstate New York–based Kasarian Dane. Dane’s pictures, which are comprised of stripes of solid color, seem the summa of restraint and condensation. But the tightrope that Dane walks in these fifteen untitled paintings from 2006 is to make reductivism a platform for expansiveness.

These exercises in delicate rigor begin with Dane’s attitude toward his materials. All his works are painted on thick sheets of aluminum, giving them a heavy, severe appearance, and are mounted with a row of metal brackets that keeps them precisely an inch from the wall. His oil and flashe paint combination pools oddly on the aluminum and lends its surface a variety of textures, often within the same painting. These range from high gloss to dusky matte. Color and shape are the critical elements here, and it is apparent that whatever equipoise is evident in each painting was achieved in fits and starts. Dane uses masking in the creation of his color bars, and close examination often reveals earlier episodes in the paintings’ history. What seems bold and decisive, a fundamental there or not there, is shown to be the result of extensive calibration and recalibration, and the effacement of earlier “solutions.”

Dane’s stripes vary in width within individual works from just over an inch to about a foot, and number between three and ten. The artist often sets up situations in which a color seems to echo within a painting, or even in a nearby work (in three instances in this show, Dane stacked four identically sized and chromatically sympathetic paintings, creating a series of mini suites). His fidelity to the endless subtleties of tone, shape, and pattern is both earnest and accomplished, exuding the sense of a knotty problem brought to hard-won resolution. Nevertheless, the variables in play—color, texture, width, rhythm, and articulation—may be shuffled endlessly, and the allure of Dane’s project is that each subsequent instance will be as difficult to achieve and interesting to witness as the first.

James Yood