Ecstatic Structure

Bart Exposito · Warren Isensee · Stanley Whitney

Ecstatic Structure focuses upon two fundamental aspects of abstract painting – color and structure. And, as author Bob Nickas has written. “particularly how color can become a building block – color as structure – and how structure can be seen as something beyond composition, as intrinsic to the content of a picture, or even as its central subject.” 

Painter Bart Exposito (Texas-born and LA-based) exploits a dynamic interplay of planar form and color – most especially in his recent Bends series. His sleek abstract paintings reference elements of modernism, design, and vernacular culture. As Exposito states, “For some time now I have been dealing with abstraction in my paintings. Rather than abstraction from such sources as landscape, figuration, etc., I begin with abstraction as a source and try to move the work into a representational space. While the paintings are always in character, the forms in the work end up having recognizable traits such as weight and personality.”

Warren Isensee’s work reverberates with an architectural rigor and a radiant, unremittingly seductive palette. His paintings dazzle the retina. Isensee’s “tube” paintings are evocative and intentionally abstract, thus allowing the color to resonate. Color becomes form’s equal. “My new paintings are a combination of linear construct, geometric elements, and seemingly imbedded tubes of light. I have been trying to depict the light that Dan Flavin hijacked with his neon tubes,” stated the New York-based artist.

Stanley Whitney (a 1968 KCAI alum and New York-based) starts each of his paintings at the top left of the blank canvas. He places a block of color, then another and another, working down to the bottom right. He chooses the colors intuitively. According to Whitney, “one color calls forth another. Color dictates the structure, not the other way around. I wanted something very simple that would allow the color to have a life.” His luminous blocks of color – minimal and expressive, dryly conceptual and jazzed up – reflect his rigorous forty year commitment to abstraction.