The purpose of art is to evoke emotions and provoke the senses. Great art is never just a part of the environment; it is not an object of study, but the source of energy that fills the room when you enter it. Such are the qualities of works by Ross Bleckner, whose solo exhibition opened at the Dallas Contemporary on January 14th. The first Bleckner’s major exhibition since 1995 retrospective shown at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the DC installation features a variety of pieces by the artist, from large-scale paintings to recent smaller canvases, described by him as “the architecture of place meets the architecture of the sky.”
Curated by Pedro Alonzo and Peter Doroshenko, the exhibit exemplifies the museum’s ongoing commitment to top quality contemporary art. Ross Blecker, a native New Yorker who splits his time between the city and the country, has established an illustrious career spanning several decades. He is a highly sought after artist with an impressive number of paintings both in private collections and in established institutions, such as the New York’s Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum. The exhibit in Dallas is especially exciting, since it provides a broad view of the artist’s creative output and allows a glimpse into his mind.
It’s this philosophical query around the physical and the absent that animates Bleckner’s newest artworks. “The surface quality of the paintings,” he explains, “lets you look back into the world. It’s about the alchemy of the surface. The reality of it is somewhere in the paintings, but the configuration takes you away from that. There’s a tension between the materiality, the physicality, and the sublime.”
The magnetism of the canvases is undeniable. There is a cosmic feel to it, the larger than life quality that transcends reality and speaks to the universe. Bleckner manages to embody the world only seen by our minds, the process of thought and the substance dreams. His continuous quest to represent that, which has no substance, is both inspiring and exhilarating. It is a mark of a real master to leave the viewer enriched and puzzled at once. Ross Blecker has it in spades.