55 Orchard Street, New York, New York 10002 212 989 5467 fax 212 989 5642
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Maureen McQuillan
 Process Color
 June 21 - August 15, 2015

Maureen McQuillan has long explored the infinite possibilities of line in black-and-white works, including ink and resin paintings and drawings, photograms made from stacks of linear drawings on transparent paper, and sculptural installations. Scientific and technological systems often inform the underlying logic of her art. In her newest work, she has progressed to the exploration of color in a systematic fashion, while continuing to embrace linearity and her distinctly handmade, labor-intensive processes.  The shift away from black-and-white derives from her interest in the dramatic effect of technology on the perception of color. The colors we see on a daily basis are less and less drawn from nature, and our interpretations of them have become device-specific. The quality of a printer or monitor can have a significant impact on perception, as can the limitations of various digital color display systems such as CMYK and RGB.  While theoretically these systems can create millions of combinations, they are still just approximations to the true range of natural color.  In addition to these inherent limitations, each person perceives color differently, depending on genetic make-up and the physical characteristics of the eyes and brain.  Color therefore remains highly subjective, even metaphysical, as well as deeply emotional and seductive.  
In response to the complex and elusive nature of color, McQuillan has created her own chromatic system, one that is both orderly, but also one that would “heat up, break down and short circuit itself in no time.”  Her process begins simply:  the slow and repetitive laying down of ink lines in layers of acrylic polymer, which are subsequently manipulated to fold and bend in undulating ripples.  As she works on the successive layers, McQuillan adds a limited and rotating number of pure, unmixed inks to the transparent polymer in a repeating order. The end result is that the rudimentary composition rules give rise to complex and unique patterns, generating multiple optical color mixtures as well as a sense of great depth.  In some pieces she works using a “blind rotation” where the color choices are restricted and she cannot see the colors laid down in earlier layers.  Once the work has dried, the translucent colors combine to create unforeseen results.  Overall, through her systematic layering of color, McQuillan creates vibrantly hued, complex and mysterious spaces in her paintings and drawings.
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