Thoughts on Refined Elaborations
David Wallage continues to extend his practice in Refined Elaborations, a body of work that pushes against strict adherence to principles often employed in minimalism while retaining an aesthetic allegiance to those same concerns. The rigidity that requires two-dimensional works to maintain a purely self-referential stance is deftly bypassed in these paintings through the subtle manipulations of materials.
Although subtle colour inflections hint at landscape derivations with greens, greys and blues discernible, these abstract paintings are heavily invested in mathematical considerations and measured amounts of paint and plastics. Wallage avoids indulging in lazy repetitive stripes or grids, instead formulating compositions by employing maps, photos and pigment stains as starting points. Each stage of the process in creating these works is carefully planned and recorded in notebooks with precise calculations and purposeful application, yet each painting clearly ‘survives’ the apparently strict doctrine of his exacting technique.
This work remains elusive, at a distance it reads as a formalist construction but a closer viewing does not expose the expected tick marks, taped edges or scalpel cuts; instead, a background, serene in appearance, is revealed. Either gentle rivulets of paint, freely applied, or gossamer digital prints are gradually subsumed by the application of multiple layers of clear acrylic polymer making their appearance akin to old parchment repeatedly dipped in wax.
Horizontal bands of light - fuzzy edged denoters floating across the surface, hovering millimeters above the background, appear suspended and not necessarily tied to the whole, while acting in concert with the established pattern. Every band manages to levitate - appearing both in and above the painting, it is truly a remarkable piece of engineering and results in heightened optical stimulation. In his work Wallage takes advantage of the latest evolution in acrylic paints experimenting extensively to create surfaces that appear deep, soft and waxy. The buffed surfaces, tactile and tempting, contribute a gentle vibration not easily grasped.
Dr. Michael Mark