Time Out New York / Aug 13–19, 2009

Michael Scott
GERING & LOPEZ GALLERY

Come summer, it’s common practice for dealers to slap together a group exhibition or, more occasionally, to give a lesser-known artist a break. But a few prefer to embrace the seasonal weather by filling their spaces with sunny work. This year, Gering & López falls into the latter camp, hosting a selection of effervescent striped paintings by Michael Scott. Marking the end of a decade-long absence from the New York scene, Scott’s comeback show follows up a series that made aggressive use of dizzying optical effects with one that adopts a more easygoing approach. While persisting with a systematic process, the artist here also embraces the innate imprecision of working by hand, and allows the peculiarities of his medium (enamel) and supports (square wood and aluminum panels) to exercise their own subtle influence on the results.

Each picture is marked by vertical colored stripes that vary in breadth and opacity, forming a shimmering curtain that rewards both up-close and more distant viewing. In declining to “correct” the frequent bleed of paint under masking tape from one stripe to its neighbor, or the splurge of paint over a panel’s edges, Scott distinguishes his project from the quasimechanical exactitude of superficially similar work by Op Art originators such as Bridget Riley. What makes Scott’s works pop is not only their intense chromatics, which swing from deep orange to shocking pink to sky blue in the space of a few inches, but the improvisational energy contained within their all-too-human surface details.

Image: Michael Scott, ATHTTSTW3, 2009