Lora Reynolds is pleased to announce an exhibition of paintings by Shannon Finley in the project room—his first solo show at the gallery.
Shannon Finley’s day-glo geometric paintings are so sharp and precise it is not always immediately clear they are made by hand. Their symmetrical compositions are built with overlapping shapes and their surfaces are so smooth they seem more like glass or sheet metal than acrylic on canvas.
Finley designs his complex patterns with imaging software. When applying them to canvas, he uses masking tape to ensure crisp boundaries between adjacent shapes. The paintings seem to glow, as the first layer of pigment (often a solid field of fluorescent pink) thrums to the surface through dozens of subsequent thin layers of paint. Gobs of acrylic accumulate at the edges of each canvas as he repeatedly drags custom-made palette knives across its surface.
Each painting contains a single type of shape—triangles, circles, squares—and belongs to one of four series. The Rhombus paintings are built from triangles of varying sizes and proportions. Orb paintings are usually made with seven or eight small and large circles. The circles and curves that comprise the Wave paintings overlap tightly and are too numerous to count. The new Pixel paintings (the one in this show is the first Finley has made) are grids of hundreds of squares that display the wide chromatic range in the artist’s work from the last year.
The vibrant colors and repeating patterns in Finley’s work point not only to 1960s psychedelia and counterculture but also to the excesses of modern-day television, advertising, and consumerism. His immaculate surfaces and sharp geometries—not to mention the Pixel series—recall the visual vocabulary of screens, computers, video games, and product design. The translucence and luminescence of Finley’s paintings, on the other hand, find precedent in the stained glass and religious architecture historically designed to promote communion and transcendence.
Ultimately, this work is about social progress, the momentum of technological development, and the relationship between man and machine. Artificial intelligence and robotics promise to revolutionize productivity in the next century while simultaneously introducing unprecedented ethical and safety dilemmas that terrify some of today’s most respected thinkers. Finley’s observations of the past and present sometimes leave him thinking the future might be a dark place—but more often he is optimistic, eager for tomorrow.
Shannon Finley, born in 1974 in Ontario, lives and works in Berlin. He has exhibited at the Khyber Centre for the Arts (Halifax), Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art (Berlin), Kunsthalle Athena (Greece), Museum für Konkrete Kunst (Germany), Prague Biennale (Czech Republic), and Yokohama Museum of Art (Japan).