Stux Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by Heide Trepanier. These evocative works strain the boundary between abstraction and representation by taking a direct, almost existential “drip” approach to the medium of a calculatedly mediated, graphic process that sets the work into vibrant relief.
Trepanier begins by pouring irregular threads of acrylic enamel paint onto the surface of a canvas, which has already been given a smooth, enameled ground. Using several tools to “draw” with the paint she creates both improvisational and intentional gobs/strands that often drift (or seem pulled) toward the edges of the canvas, leaving large areas of charged negative space where the seamlessly flat, but saturated, color of the base field presses forward through the gap. She then carefully outlines the biomorphically abstract blobs of dripped paint with darker shades of color and/or black, transforming the drips into unexpected, tangled organic forms – a gnarled tree root here, an expressive bit of attenuated viscera there – which call forth an endless range of references (and their attendant emotional responses) from the viewer, relying on something akin to the suggestive effects of the Surrealists’ psychic automatism.
Using bright candy colors throughout, the outlined forms gain a vigorous graphic “snap,” an effect intensified by the overall smoothness of the painting’s surface. Trepanier brilliantly directs the apparent movement of her abstract forms as they slide across the picture plane, envisioning them as though they were actors in a film. The blobs reach out toward other forms, shrink away in fear, fight, or otherwise engage each other on the slick surface of the screen/canvas. This cinematic, freeze-frame effect heightens and intensifies the sharpened graphic qualities of the image, presenting the viewer with a bizarre, seemingly recognizable scenario, but one which perpetually frustrates any attempt at a fixed reading due to its fundamentally nonobjective nature. The result is a series of abstract works (with behaviors) that nevertheless provoke a deep, often disturbing response in the viewer as they surreptitiously burrow into the psyche through the crucially charged avenue of vision itself.