Ron Gorchov
Cheim and Read
NY Arts Magazine

As a contemporary art titan whose career continues to be reinvigorated with each successive decade, Ron Gorchov’s influence is truly impressive. If one were to attempt mapping a schema of his aesthetic range, lines could be drawn to contemporary masters such as Mark Rothko, Richard Tuttle, Arshile Gorky, and Willem de Kooning.

Working on a saddle-like support which has been a staple of his painting investigation since his emergence onto the art scene in the 1960’s, Gorchov balances the physical structure and reality of materials against an articulation of contemplatively selected washes of pigment. The curved nature of his canvas, bending out towards the viewer on both top and bottom while increasingly convex towards its center, places the forms within a spatially foreign abstract environment. Over the years, the artist has restricted his formal depiction to two biomorphic forms placed in direct relation to one another in the center of this canvas. The ground is generally made of a number of confidently laid pigment washes, accruing to a rich monochrome.

The most commonly recognizable object in relation to the shape of the painting support constructed here seems to be a riding saddle. This shape both calls attention to itself as a unique painting support while enticing the viewer to further investigate the purpose of its physicality. Utilizing the center of the canvas, Gorchov situates his forms at the transitional nexus of the curved structure. The concave/convex shape mimics the natural way our eye takes in our surroundings, having two perspectives melded into one representational experience in time and space. The complexity of the support synergizes the investigational movement it inspires within the viewer with the experience of viewing the forms within the abstract image.

Rejecting the traditional rectangular painting support, Gorchov is able to create a compositional balance all his own- one that continues to feel fresh. His skill in dealing with the unique support feels almost as if the work were able to carve out it’s own niche in painting history.

The selectively hung exhibition, curated by Phong Bui, also includes two of Gorchov’s more recent vertical works. Stacked one on top of another, half saddle shapes (similar to those of his singular painting supports) are positioned in tall columns of contemplatively selected hues. The animation and participation of the viewer seems to be important here as well, as raw canvas and dripping pigment lay exposed where one support meets the other. The paint seems to be running just out of view, calling for more intimate inspection as the viewer circles the pillar-like construction.

When viewing any of his work, the power of the artist’s influence is immediately palpable. One can feel the cohesiveness of his expression, which has been cultivated over decades of dogged aesthetic pursuit. Gorchov’s process has long since come to a rolling boil, and shows no signs losing its vitality. His work captures something intrinsic in the way we encounter art in a real, sensitively lived time and space. His endurance serves as an example of delicately cultivated innovation, confidence, and aesthetic vision.

One can sometimes grow wary of the heat provided by an artist’s oeuvre, thinking there may soon come a time when their creative influence will wane. This is never the case with Gorchov. Much like the often resurrected life of painting itself, the artists’ work shows signs of that unnameable vital ilk which will ensure it’s importance for as long as visual art is preserved to be encountered in lived time and space.