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Review: Richard Wilson at Carl Berg Gallery

January 15, 2009 | 12:01 pm

Be on TimeRichard Wilson’s six new paintings at the Carl Berg Gallery are as close to perfect as anything on Earth can be. Each three-panel acrylic on canvas combines exceptional precision with inexplicable mystery, making for approachable, even friendly works that puzzle the mind, delight the senses and are a joy to behold.

There’s nothing fancy about Wilson’s paintings, which he calls “Rises.” Each consists of three horizontal rectangles abutted to one another so that they form column-like compositions that are roughly the size of doorways.

The tops, middles and bottoms are stretched over bars of various widths, creating panels of different thicknesses. Wilson complements this planar irregularity by positioning each panel slightly off center in relation to its neighbors, aligning his eccentric triptychs in a manner that recalls the ways children stack building blocks: wobbly and never the same way twice.

The face of each panel has been painted a single, indescribably delicious color so warm and saturated that it’s easy to get lost in its simple resplendence. Wilson’s palette is organic, with patiently mixed olive greens ranging from tangy near-yellows to strange almost-grays and rusty reds running the gamut from zippy cinnamon to luscious pumpkin. Loamy browns and midnight blacks betray hints of eggplant and burgundy.

-- David Pagel