Review: What exactly am I looking at? The intriguing work of artist Roy Thurston


Roy Thurston traffics in perceptual ambiguities at the busy intersection of painting and sculpture. The sensation of being in a gallery yet not being quite sure what you’re looking at is strange but rewarding.

At first, the six monochrome rectangles hanging on walls at Chimento Contemporary seem to be fairly conventional abstract paintings. The smallest is just a few inches on a side, the largest six feet wide.

Soon Thurston’s paintings reveal themselves as sculptural objects -- milled aluminum or copper panels and boxes, their surfaces covered in colored silicone or polyurethane that has been scraped or combed. Light is gently diffused or absorbed, blurring the face of the work, which sometimes turns out to be slightly concave. Shadows cast on the wall or, in the case of the smallest work, within a series of interior wedges, further emphasize their object-hood.


Against this machined and carefully hand-fabricated quality, Thurston sets an array of attractive colors. Many are drawn from nature -- fuchsia, lavender, bougainvillea -- while others are metallic. The result is a group of specific objects in the vein of Donald Judd’s Minimalism, yet something all their own.

Chimento Contemporary, 622 S. Anderson St., (424) 261-5766, through April 9. Closed Sunday and Monday.

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