Station / Decal / Survey


Station / Decal / Survey

Tom McGlynn

September 14 - December 23, 2017

Opening the fall season at Rick Wester Fine Art is a one-person exhibition of paintings by the artist, author and educator Tom McGlynn. The works on display are culled from three series dating from 2012 to 2017 that explore the linguistic and semiotic underpinnings of abstract painting. The series, from which the exhibition title is taken, Station, Decal and Survey, describe the ontology behind McGlynn’s creative actions. Each title functions as a label. The meaning implies the description of contents or signage so that the paintings are, in fact, depictions of their own meanings.

McGlynn’s works are comprised of carefully considered and saturated color geometric shapes, rectangular and of varying ratios, floating on grounds of white or pastel shades, acrylic on constructed wood panel boxes. Flat in perspective but three dimensional due to the construction, the compositions speak to both highbrow and lowbrow histories, from Suprematism to roadside billboards and grocery store advertising. Although the works would seem to imply or evoke a Minimalist aesthetic, McGlynn eschews any notion that his work is a reaction to anything. Of Minimalism he states, Minimalist theory historically has relied on the distillation of form and sublimation of content.  In my work I am fine with keeping my content fully loaded- yet its "shape" minimally determined, so there is no final form of content eliding the viewer's own, inherent interpretation.

Certainly reductive in nature, they are richly constructed to elicit his unique form of thoughtful probing. There is nothing incidental or unconsidered in these works and accident does not play a role in their evolution. They are designed to be full of intention but devoid of narrative. They generously celebrate human perception and intelligence, triggering our natural intention to fill in the blanks and make sense of empty space. The colored boxes floating in space almost demand we supply words, language, ciphers, anything to act as markers on these roadmaps of perception. They create tension between the fact of their existence and our expectation of what a painting should be. 

Tom McGlynn is an artist, writer, and independent curator based in the NYC area. His work is represented in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, and The Cooper- Hewitt National Design Museum of the Smithsonian.

He is the founding director of Beautiful Fields, an organization dedicated to socially- engaged curatorial projects. “Memphis Social” was a city-wide show sponsored by an apexart Franchise Grant and presented by Beautiful Fields in 2013. Recent curatorial projects have included Plain Sight presented at Western Michigan University Galleries in 2016 and Minimax, as co-curator with Tenesh Webber, presented at Bullet Space, NYC in 2015. He is currently affiliated with Parsons, The New School for Design as an artist lecturer and with The New Centre for Research and Practice, an online educational institution based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is also a regular contributing writer at The Brooklyn Rail.