March 16 - April 23, 2011

Stephen Wirtz Gallery is pleased to announce Paint, an exhibition of new paintings and works on paper by Kathryn VanDyke.
Paint features nine paintings and twenty works on paper made over the past two years. The works on canvas, rendered in oil and spray paint, present equivocal, geometric shapes stacked in inventive, interlocking balancing acts. Ranging from architectural to atmospheric, and even ominous, the formal elements merge to create compositions resembling orderly systems. Others eschew an obvious structure, revealing light-filled, amorphous spaces, and cloud-like forms of color.
The works on paper included in the show are abstract compositions created on pages from auction catalogues, of antique books and manuscripts. VanDyke returns the source material to the present by using the existing writing and text as underlying structure, and selectively obscuring lines and passages of calligraphy with delicate brushwork. The flourish of handwriting that is left visible is richly evocative of the distant past, ephemera touched by air, dirt, fingers, and light moving through time and history.
Paint follows from VanDyke’s practice of working with thematic formal elements within a series. Consistently, VanDyke’s paintings explore two-dimensional space, interplay between illusion and flatness, the juxtaposition of natural and man-made forms of light, and the opposition between a stable and a dissolving grid.
VanDyke’s work reveals a sensitivity to nature, with references to geology and weather, as well as inspiration from the material world, with imagery rooted in daily visual experience, including popular culture, current events and technology. VanDyke’s paintings nod at ancient Indian spiritual painting, early American abstract painting, gestural painting and minimalism. Evident in the work is her understanding and enthusiasm for the complex history of painting.
KATHRYN VAN DYKE (b. 1957, Wisconsin) received her M.F.A. from Yale School of Art in 1993. Van Dyke was a recipient of the 2000 SECA Art Award from SFMOMA that included a solo exhibition at the museum. Van Dyke lives and works in Marin County, CA.