Paasch’s Reality Duality

OBR# 63, Open Block Grid Rectangle #63, 2004, oil, acrylic and ink on clay panel, 18” x 24”.


Suzanne Volmer

Expressing a contemporary saturation of process, Robert Paasch’s paintings are installed as an organized swipe of abstract information in “Reality Duality — Paintings from the Open Block Grid Series,” the third exhibition presented at Periphery Space in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

In constructing his paintings, Paasch employs two techniques that join in forming a single work. The first involves a background layer that looks like emulsion smears or magnifications of residue from the peel-way paper discards of a Polaroid Land Camera. The second layer functions as foreground, composed as a floating checkered grid of thickly painted pixels behind which the background can still be seen.

In the paintings, subtleties of white reveal a presence where the surface ground is allowed to show through; or, in foreground, color unites in pixelated grid passages into evanescent effects of vast-ness. Paasch’s backgrounds suggest speed, while his tactile foregrounds add the element of touch.

Paasch describes his process of art-making as being similar to playing a game of solitaire, with
options and chance informing the decision process. Each painting is fine-tuned into a balanced statement. Both cerebral and action-oriented, Paasch’s paintings have a reductive aesthetic that communicates a sense of lived experience. This show gives the artist the opportunity to exhibit these paintings as a series, adding a Rorschach element to the grouping — some audiences could relate to them like blurred landscapes seen from a moving car. In any case, this artist’s work conjures an idea of human experience.

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