Rupert Deese, Kern River/10 (blue grey), 2008, oil on wood, 35 x 61".

Rupert Deese

Nancy Hoffman Gallery

Rupert Deese, Kern River/10 (blue grey), 2008, oil on wood, 35 x 61".

Rupert Deese’s self-described “painted structures”—there were a dozen in this exhibition—could be regarded as versions of what Lawrence Alloway termed “systemic painting,” or, as it has sometimes been called, “pattern painting.” Yet the appearance of a pattern is only an illusion. To create each work, Deese made a mold based on the elevations represented in a topographical map. Then he arranged triangular tiles on top of the mold, building a structure whose surface approximates features of the landscape, its peaks and valleys. This faceted ground is painted a single, unmodulated color, yet as light and shadow play across the angled structure, the tiles appear to vary in tone, ranging from dark to nearly white. Across a painting, these differences create a sort of quivering effect, a gentle quirkiness artfully emerging from a strictly regular framework. Though cut off at

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