February 2024

A Solo in New York: My Interval Paintings
Philip Gerstein

For this month's feature, I am excited to preview my solo exhibition* about to open at The Painting Center, in Chelsea, NYC.



"Don't Go Meekly into That Good Night",  40 x 30 in. (102 x 76 cm),
Flashe and acrylic on birchwood panel, 2022


To that effect, allow me to share the Press Release that accompanies this exhibition, in full; it conveys effectively the intent and impact of this exhibition.





We shape clay into a pot,

but it is the emptiness inside

that holds whatever we want. ...

We work with being,

but non-being is what we use.

~Tao Te Ching (transl. S Mitchell, 1995)



The Painting Center is happy to present a solo exhibition of Philip Gerstein's Interval Paintings in our Project Room. This exhibition highlights selections from his post-minimal series of paintings, following Gerstein's previous solo show at The Painting Center in 2017, at the start of this series.


The intervals in painting serve as a potent organizational device, while their impact can go well beyond a simple principle of compositional arrangement, to affect our emotive and even vibrational response.


What makes this device have a particularly strong impact in Gerstein's paintings, is his paired  use of intervals and color, to establish the emotional field of each picture. It is precisely the vitality and ambiguity that comes from color that allows Gerstein's paintings to be seen as transcending the dualism of our language and expression -- that restriction of thinking (& painting) within the binding confines of object/ground, dark/light, thick/thin, shiny/matte, solid/nebulous, hard/soft, textured/smooth, clear/unfocused, and ultimately, real/illusory.


Of note is also his paintings' commitment to unrepeatability, where each painting is allowed to follow its own path, its own inner calling, resulting in a panoply of surface impressions and outcomes -- like musical compositions performed with a different combination of instruments each, with smaller differences progressively magnified as the composition develops.


Upon longer look, one might even contend that Gerstein pushes his use of intervals much further, into the realm of metaphor, perhaps even an illustration of universal principles. Ultimately, it is the pulsing, the barely perceived vibration of everything around us... the very light that allows us to see coming in in packets, in pulses between substance & void... it is the pulse of the universe... . It is what all matter, all material objects around us are made of, the pulses of more or less congealed, solidified energy. And within this revealed pulsing, the old object/ground painting conundrum is being resolved in the clarity of the interval -- in each stroke's surroundings, in the contradiction of the abstract nature of color interacting with the concrete nature of object, and the acceptance of this radical ambiguity.



"Flagship",  30 x 40 in. (76 x 102 cm), Acrylic on birchwood panel, 2021



 Jan. 30 - Feb. 24, 2024    OPENING: Thursday February 1st, 5-8 pm

 The Painting Center, 547 W. 27 St., Suite 500, New York, NY


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Born and raised in Moscow, Russia, Philip Gerstein began exhibiting his work in the 1980's, while pursuing a PhD in Art History at Harvard University. He studied painting at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Japanese calligraphy with Toshu Ogawa. Gerstein exhibits in NYC, Provincetown MA, and extensively in the Boston area, as well as organizing and curating painting and photography shows. For his paintings – extensively reviewed and widely collected see www.PhilipGerstein.com. For his other work in Scene4, check the Archives

©2024 Philip Gerstein
©2024 Publication Scene4 Magazine




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