JONATHAN LEACH – A Review

26 Jul

leach pic

Gallery Sonja Roesch

Through August 29

Minimalist art often benefits from a confluence of technique and more reality based observable quotients—a brevity is given to the stricture of methodology inherent in the genre. Jonathan Leach, a newcomer to the Houston art scene, understands this subtly as evidenced in his offering of new paintings at Gallery Sonja Roesch, a space dedicated to showcasing reductive-based visual art. 

The show, titled New Work, is composed of a collection of several smartly executed paintings, some multi-surfaced, as well as two Plexiglas cubes resting on the gallery floor. All of the work is painted in intensely bright plastic hues, pushing the content away from any natural reference. The compositions are inspired by urban architecture (think parking garages) in a sort of lose way. If the Bauhaus were still alive and kicking today, Leach would definitely be a card-carrying member. 

The paintings work best large scale; the architectural influences seem to resonate more comfortably that way. The works are complex and balanced well, no small feat when your pallet is a Technicolor barrage of pigment. There are enough near misses in the alignment of the geometry to keep interest. Without these human touches, the work would come off as machine fabricated and lesser for it. The handling of the medium is strong enough to give Leach the benefit of the doubt and assume they are intentional. 

The Plexiglas boxes are similar to the paintings, but pack less of a punch. Perhaps they mimic too closely the architectural references, too simplistically. It doesn’t help that they are on the floor, either. All in all, though, the show is impressive and gives evidence of Roesch’s shrewd eye for emerging talent in Houston. – Garland Fielder

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