The latest exemplar is painter Michael Kessler, whose complex, exceedingly accomplished abstract paintings on wood panels can be seen at Klein Art Works through Nov. 29. A recipient of the Prix de Rome, he recently spent nearly a year in Italy and the experience catapulted his work to a new level.
Particularly important for the artist were the encounters with pre- and early Renaissance painters such as Ciambue, 5th and 6th Century frescoes from the catacombs, and the temples of Paestum. The latter were the impetus for the most significant compositional shift in his work-hard-edged geometric forms that provide a sturdy superstructure.
"These works are a milestone for me," Kessler said, "in the sense that it's the first time I've been able to use geometry-architectonic and rectilinear forms-in combination with the more amorphous or biomorphic forms I've used in the past. It anchors the work, and provides a framework for the gestures, but there's also a playfulness to it in the way that a geometric form can flip over or turn on its side."