Imploding Landscapes

Painter Ted Zourntos creates new territory with “Outward is Inward” at Sloan Fine Art

poster for Ted Zourntos “Outward is Inward”

Ted Zourntos “Outward is Inward”

at Sloan Fine Art
in the Lower East Side area
This event has ended - (2008-06-12 - 2008-07-12)

In Reviews by Alyssa Tang 2008-06-05 print

An artist friend of mine once told me that painting is dead. And I tucked that thought into my pocket, not aware that I took it quite to heart. As we enter the modern age of “What else can you do with paint?” I began to question what was left to discover.

Ted Zourntos’ painting suggests that it may just be under our noses. In mid June, Zourntos will be presenting his first solo exhibition in New York. Formerly a professor at Sheridan College in Toronto, Zourntos comes from a figurative art background, and has more recently been settling into surrealism and abstraction. After his recent move to New York, he further refined his style with a shift in focus to monochromatic paintings. It is a reductionist strategy that challenges him to convey mood without the assistance of color. He says that his works “exploded” when he “let go of color.” Playing with the notion of different yet the same, he has painted a series of works titled “Landscapes.”

Armed with this less-is-more mentality, Zourntos’ self-described “intuitive landscapes” seek to become a “destabilized terrain full of infinite possibility and optimism.” His work combines materials, such as oil and canvas, with a history of proper technique. He has discovered that these materials and techniques can be altered through processes of chance and accident. Like a mad scientist, Zourntos has invented a chemical cocktail consisting of resin and paints mixed by blender. The cake batter-like consistency is then poured onto his canvas, where gravity takes the reins and wanders across the surface. Silcone is then smeared and scraped into finely rhythmic ridges. After the textural stage is set, Zourntos sprays paint across the canvas, where it mingles with bubbles of moist paint-batter and dry canvas. His layered techniques create a rich surface of supernova-esque landscapes.

These paintings are a return to the art of mark making. Although the canvas is littered with a frenzy of strokes, slashes, smears and globs, an invisible ringmaster silently demands order. Reminiscent of traditional Chinese landscape paintings, the free brush strokes are guided by an architectural restraint. Zourntos achieves a surprising sense of depth and infinity, using only black and white–with only the smallest hints of orange and blue leaking through faint cracks, to enhance the push-pull effect of the works.

Zourntos comments on the “current condition of environmental uncertainty” through his “imploding” landscapes, a world that is exponentially about stimulation, choices, mass production, and burning more midnight oil than our predecessors. As much about creation as destruction though, a certain optimism emerges from Zourntos anxious brush-strokes. Through pressure-filled wastelands, the viewer wanders amongst a million moments of chance, silence, discord, uncertainty, infinity and peace–all finding purpose together. The Landscapes of “Outward is Inward” present moments of transition between recognizable terrain and a place where zephyrs make war. The result is beautiful, innovative painting that does not willingly let the viewer escape.

Alyssa Tang

Alyssa Tang. Her parents first met at a Chinese-American Halloween square dance. If you know Alyssa, this explains a lot. Born in 1979, this Boston-bred kid’s been drawing since the day she could crawl. She holds degrees in Studio Art & Psychology from Wellesley College, and Fashion Design from Parsons. Living by the "try anything once" mantra, she's worn multiple hats: muralist, community worker, event planner, graphic designer, textile designer, freelance stylist, and now fashion designer. With a penchant for discovering the unusual, she likes to wander, discover and create ways to put a smile on people’s faces. » See other writings

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