Todd Chilton: Determined imprecision

In the Gorky’s Granddaughter interview with Thomas Nozkowski that I posted last week, Nozkowski said he never uses tape or rulers to draw his lines because he believes that painters should work to their “level of performance.” I saw two shows this weekend that reminded me of this: Todd Chilton at Feature and Amy Feldman at Blackston.

At Feature, Chilton presents vibrantly colored, small-scale geometric abstraction. He writes in his statement that “meaning comes through determined imprecision, broken or sagging structures and the obvious hand that created the painting.” So true. Although the painterliness doesn’t read in JPEGs, his work is both charming and anarchic, breathing life into the overly familiar triangle motif.

Next post: Amy Feldman at Blackston.

Todd Chilton, Split and Quartered, 2012; oil paint on linen; 27 x 23 inches.

Todd Chilton, Gray Triangles, 2012; oil paint on linen; 27 x 23 inches.
Todd Chilton, Steps, 2012; oil paint on linen over panel; 18 x 16 inches.
Todd Chilton, Orange Triangles, 2012; oil paint on linen; 27 x 23 inches.
Todd Chilton, Sails and Wedges, 2012; oil paint on linen; 27 x 23 inches.

Todd Chilton: Steady,” Feature, Inc., Lower East Side, New York, NY. Through June 30, 2012.

Related posts:
When the personal infiltrates the formal (2011)
Todd Chilton: accepting imperfection (2007)


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  1. Tape and rulers are tools just like anything else. One's "level of performance" may require that they sometimes be used. What they offer may be exactly what the artist wants. Is an artist authentic only when attempting to paint a straight line by hand?

  2. He reduced his palette and his vocabulary on "Gray Triangles" to a warm gray and a cool gray working against the red triangles. I think it is by far the most interesting composition. Perhaps he should step back and take a look at the relationships he achieved. I hesitate to say much more. He works with a limited variety of geometrical forms that border on redundancy. Redundancy and predictability are nearly the same thing. Someone said about Rothko, regardless of what he is doing, the composition is still a rectangle.

  3. Really enjoyed this post, thank you!


  4. Yes, quite interesting, although they skirt dangerously close to hotel art. Maybe it's the painter's hand, evident in wonky triangles, that saves it from becoming too decorative. Or maybe it would look great in a hipster apartment or hotel.

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