From the first, Catalan artist Ignasi Aballí has questioned the notion that painting is an eminently visual device. He began working at the end of the 1980s, when the weariness produced by the painting overflow of that decade impelled many artists to reflect not so much upon what was to be seen but rather upon the conceptual framework that made it visible. For Aballí, this led to a practice based more on suggestion than on explicit presence, in which painting was active as an idea and not as a physical entity, and images were to belong to the realm of the mind rather than to that of the eye.
What is the relation between abstract and figurative painting, and how do we read abstraction some fifty years after the twilight of Abstract Expressionism? These questions seem to be at the heart of Matthew Metzger’s practice, and they connect the quite diverse works in his recent exhibition “The Shade of a Line.”
In two works from the series “The Condition,” 2015, we see the image of a machete, with the aged metal blade and wooden grip rendered in fine detail. The knife is positioned in the paintings’ middle, stretching to the panels’ left and right edges, forming a horizon and cutting the