View of “Chris Duncan,” 2010.

Chris Duncan

Baer Ridgway Exhibitions

View of “Chris Duncan,” 2010.

Chris Duncan’s latest exhibition, “Eye Against I,” opened with a makeshift, poster-covered wall, like one you might have seen at some grimy punk venue back in the ’90s. The gesture underscored the show’s title, a nod to the Washington, DC, hardcore band Bad Brains, and in particular to their anthem “I Against I.” The reference may be an oblique one for some, but it lends important context to this Oakland, California–based artist’s efforts. Throughout this show, and indeed his practice, Duncan mined questions of optics, partaking freely of techniques echoing the transcendental abstraction of Emma Kunz, the color theory of Josef Albers, and the dynamic patterning of Bridget Riley. But eschewing the slickness of these canonical precursors, his materialist aesthetic is decidedly rough-hewn, intended to prevent the viewer from slipping into some hypnagogic mode of perception.

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