10.04.19 — 12.10.19
For those familiar with the vast arc of Reginald Rowe’s prolific career, the works presented in this show may be surprising. These selected works from his early 1970s Land Tide series are a precursor to Rowe’s later, implicitly abstract, geometrically shaped canvases, which often incorporated mixed mediums with thick layers of acrylic paint. The Land Tide paintings are poetic dances with geometry and space. Rowe’s technique of thinly applied paint worked into reductive color fields invokes abstract landscapes, suggesting a mystical trinity of sky, water, and earth. The lyrical compositions reject the passage of time as a linear notion. These works are playful yet meditative invitations to depart the confines of what we know so that we can wander in a psychological and spiritual landscape.
McKay Otto’s Pivot series are a sculptural departure from his exquisitely executed dreamlike paintings composed of intricately structured horizontal and vertical fields. Otto’s Pivots play with space and perspective and actively engage the specificity of location. Here, as in his paintings, he obscures form and color by veiling it. By wrapping the gibbous shapes forming the structural spine of his totem-like forms, Otto fuses the stalactite with the stalagmite. The logic of the material world disappears into abstraction. His meticulous and methodical layering and veiling show us how to intuit but never grasp the object as form.
Reginald Rowe (1920 – 2007) was one of the preeminent San Antonio abstract painters of the 20th century. Born in 1920 in Brooklyn, New York, Rowe graduated from Princeton University, with a major in Spanish Literature. He also attended the Art Students League in New York and earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Instituto Allende of the University of Guanajuato, Mexico. In 1964, he moved to San Antonio, Texas, and became head of the faculty at the San Antonio Art Institute. In addition to his rigorous studio practice, Rowe exhibited widely and established a private painting and critique group, known for his brutally honest but always constructive criticism. A second generation abstract Expressionist, he spent most of his career in South Texas, and became best known for his shaped abstract painting, based on classical myths. Hailed as a pioneer in abstract art in San Antonio, he influenced many as an artist and a teacher.