Johnny Abrahams

4_interference study

Johnny Abrahams

Work from his oeuvre.

“On first encounter with Abrahams’ work one lets oneself slide comfortably into comparison with known oscillators of our viewing pleasure… Riley, Albers, Vasarely, Stanczack, Biggs and Collings and Cruz Diaz amongst others. There is a continuity of tradition evident, however, with each successive artist having the advantage of hindsight, different circumstance, and the knowledge of a new world, each has brought us a different speed, a new take, aesthetically and conceptually. By setting himself up in broad comparison to these artists, Abrahams ultimately feels encouraged and inspired, like his antecedents, to try to bring something different to the previous practitioners in this space bringing something new to the party.

Abrahams shares with the op artists a focus on making the viewer the subject, emphasizing the effects of one’s movement around it. He is exploring what can be done only with line to the exclusion of the other elements (colour, shape, texture, space, form), and in subsequent series he plans to gradually introduce these individual elements one at a time. This, he anticipates, will likely be a very protracted pursuit evolving over many years.

This exhibition involves works from Abrahams first two Series. Series 1 is an ongoing exploration of the fundamentals of design, testing and pushing the possibilities of the most basic element of design: line. Within the panel, the collections of black and white lines create a strained and dissonant juxtaposition. The termination of many lines along an implied edge creates the impression of many suspended planes interacting with one another above a white background. Approaching a work, a design may appear subtly constructed of two tones or tone gradations, but within a certain distance threshold these reduced elements become vibratory, destabilizing the fixed gaze of the eye and generating afterimages of colour as light is broken into its constituent colors due to the interaction of so many dark and light figure-ground relationships.

Series 2 continues to work within the restraints of line to the exclusion of other design elements, focusing on the interaction of two sets of parallel lines suspended above a white background. Inclining the top set of parallel lines by a few degrees here or there creates an unpredictable phasing and a superimposed pattern of interference emerges, generating organic and natural patterns from the very rigid and limited constituent elements. As the different groups of parallel lines become indistinguishable, the original signals are lost and an alias is generated in its place. The work titled “interference study” is an example of this new direction. In this painting he has essentially created two sets of parallel lines with the top set angled at 5 degrees from the bottom set, the resultant wave patterns being caused by this phasing of lines. If it reminds you of a photograph of a television screen, the same principles are at work.” – Vigo Gallery

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