Martin del Campo | Notes on Looking

Zack Paul in SB; Abstraction at MOLAA: Lisa, Fernández and Maggi; Ryan Perez’s Arrival; Juan Martin del Campo Jr. in “Finds! The Unusual Object”

There is so much art making going on in Los Angeles that sometimes it’s easy to forget that our neighbors just next door are also making some very good art.  I recently attended two shows in Santa Barbara featuring the work by Argentine painter Zack Paul.  His first solo-show Inside Out is now on exhibit at Sullivan Goss in downtown SB.  Paul, who has been living in the US for ten years, has clearly been influenced by the Southern Californian sunshine.  As you enter the gallery space, the first thing you will notice is the rich vocabulary of color, lines and space in his abstract paintings.  His palette is inspired by the Pacific Ocean’s marine life; sand, ocean, kelp, rocks, moss, oxide, coral, stones, seaweed also appear in the paintings titles.  Paul explained how he mixes these colors with man made architectural objects, creating an interesting dialogue and relationship.   Within these hard-edged paintings, ideas are repeated, as are his colors, systems and forms. Paul explained that he takes photographs of complicated architectural shapes and forms, redraws them and then brings out the natural element using his carefully selected colors.  Then the magic begins: There is an illusion of depth as he plays with the ambiguity of three-dimensionality and then makes us begin to wonder if the constructions are sheltering or inhibiting.  The paintings are double edged and inside out.  In the series Commonplace Interior Shapes, Exterior Colors (No. 1-3) he has taken a photograph of the interior of his house and of a corner which he often looks at in his studio. In these paintings, routine and repetition are...