JOHN VOKOUNhorizons / structures

David Richard Gallery
Apr 7, 2017 10:53PM

Artist John Vokoun Presents New Paintings That Layer Pigment And Digital Data In His First Solo Exhibition At David Richard Gallery April 7 Through May 6, 2017

Left: Structure of Earth, 2017, Oil on panel, 40" x 30" Middle: Structure of a Sunset I, 2017, Oil on panel, 40" x 30"  Right: Wave Dissipation, 2017, Laser-cut acrylic on panel, 30" x 24"  Copyright © John Vokoun

Vokoun’s presentation, and debut with the gallery, represents a collection of new mixed media paintings created in response to the artist’s month-long residency in 2016 at Chaco Canyon in northern New Mexico, part of the National Parks Arts Foundation (NPAF) residency program in association with Chaco Culture National Historical Park of the National Park Service. This series of paintings was inspired by Vokoun’s reflection on the architecture, mark making, and symbolism of ancient Chacoan culture in contrast to our contemporary, technology-driven lives. The ground of many of the paintings is comprised of horizontal bands of color transitioning from ivories and blues at the top to fiery pinks, reds and oranges in the center that finally transition to earth tones at the bottom. These bands reference the reductive landscape and hues observed at sunrise and sunset in Chaco Canyon. Vokoun then laser cuts into the bands of pigment his computer data driven digital imagery that layers a new geometric vocabulary on top.

John Vokoun, Earth Meets Sky, 2017, Laser-cut acrylic on panel, 36" x 24" Copyright © John Vokoun

Vokoun designs on the computer, playing with corrupted data, and then he paints on canvases that are often laser-cut to line precision. “The horizons I see in this work are the New Mexico vistas I’ve been living with for a long time,” he says. “At Chaco I was influenced by the way the Earth comes up and meets the sky. It seems their whole structure and civilization was built that way, reflecting geography and topography, like those buildings were meant to reach the sky.”

Left: Reconstruction, 2015, Laser-cut acrylic on panel, 24" x 24" Left: La Fajada Earth & Sky, 2016, Acrylic on canvas over panel, 24" x 20" Right: Heat Wave, 2017, Acrylic on laser-cut panel, 36 x 24 "  Copyright © John Vokoun

With a background in color field painting, Vokoun uses digital tools to explore the effects of the Information Age on contemporary culture. Influenced by the ideas of Carl Jung and mathematicians Henri Poincaré and Benoit Mandlebrot, he seeks universal patterns between systems. He believes shared modes of communication, symbols, gestures, and geometries can help us understand our evolution in a data saturated–world.

La Fajada Earth & Sky, 2016, Acrylic on canvas over panel, 24" x 20" Copyright © John Vokoun

“Over the years working with corrupted computer data and elements of technology, I’ve thought a lot about the structures that make up our lives,” says Vokoun. This new series, horizons / structures, is part of Vokoun’s continued work reinterpreting data and its significance in our lives, as if translating line by line from one language to another abstract one. “When I was at Chaco, I thought about ancient cultures, their rituals and structures, and I thought about how our lives are constructed now,” he says. Vokoun’s works communicate by decomposing information to its basic units: data point, pixel, byte, and language—hinting at a source and rebuilding this into simple forms.

Data Horizon, 2017, Acrylic on laser-cut panel, 36" x 48"  Copyright © John Vokoun

About John Vokoun:

A child of the personal computer era, John Vokoun has been fascinated with the computer as an art medium since he attended programming camp at age 9. From his first green and black CRT drawings on an Apple II to his present-day interaction with a variety of computerized machines, the computer’s influence on his work is only matched by the color field paintings of Albers, Itten, Kelly, and Rothko. With computer data and geometry, he seeks to channel the chaos of the Information Age into simple forms. Founder of Fire Dragon Color, a fine art printing company that has helped produce numerous award-winning books, Vokoun resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His work has recently been exhibited at the New Mexico Museum of Art.

John Vokoun in his studio

About David Richard Gallery:

Since its inception the gallery has produced museum quality exhibitions that feature Post War abstraction in the US. The presentations have addressed specific decades and geographies as well as certain movements and tendencies. While the gallery has long been recognized as an important proponent of post-1960s abstraction—including both the influential pioneers as well as a younger generation of practitioners in this field— in keeping with this spirit of nurture and development the gallery presents established and very new artists who embrace more gestural and representational approaches to the making of art as well as young emerging artists.

In 2015 David Richard Gallery launched DR Projects to provide a platform for artists of all stripes—international, national, local, emerging and established—to present special solo projects or to participate in unique collaborations or thematic exhibitions. The goal is to offer a fresh look at contemporary art practice from a broad spectrum of artists and presentations.

John Vokoun's horizons / structures at David Richard Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

David Richard Gallery