Indeterminacy, chance, and the careful courting of the destructive effects of natural forces also figure in the panel paintings of Jaq Chartier, a mid-career artist now based in Seattle, whose second solo show at Schroeder Romero, called “Sun Tests,” continues through Oct. 11. The artist, a paint tester for Golden Artist Colors, fruitfully brings her day job home with her. Hazy circles of saturated hues, arranged in loose grids or in roughly parallel streaks across fields of milky white, look at first like sparse abstractions by some kind of Arte Povera-influenced Zen master, but as the show’s title suggests, an empirical method is in full effect.
For some time, Chartier has been exploring in her work the chromatic changes accompanying chemical reactions between various combinations of paints, dyes, stains, inks and other substances. In the new work, she partially masks her color samples and then subjects the paintings to prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. (The specifics of each experiment are often noted on the edge or face of the panel.) As some pigments are more fugitive than others, some hues look bleached, others don’t really, and a few shift quite dramatically across the spectrum. Gimmick? Maybe — but every artist needs a hook, and in any case the resulting paintings are oddly alluring. Prices are generally in the $2,500-$8,000 range.
In the gallery’s project room, Janice Caswell quantifies experience differently, mapping, quite prettily, her real and/or imaged dealings with the urban interface in a show called “Small Towns.” The artist works directly on the wall with pins, wire, foam core and enamel. Prices range from $1,350 for Lakewood, New Jersey to $3,500 for Mavisu, Turkey. She’s also got work in “Staccato,” a group show at Jeffrey Coploff in Chelsea.
STEPHEN MAINE is an artist and writer who lives in Brooklyn.