Assured abstractions

By GREG COOK  |  March 19, 2014

IN-BETWEENNESS Hastings's 'Summer #1.'
Buck Hastings’s paintings are suffused with an in-betweeness that can leave you feeling off-kilter. He mixes realist renderings of a city at sunset and a soccer field with calligraphic marks swarming across the center of the compositions like flocks of starlings. In his 2014 oil painting Summer #1, orange and yellow confetti-like squiggles and dashes hover atop a painting of a forest. Even as Hastings captures the feeling of light shining through the leaves, his brushwork feels detached. The calligraphic marks on top rhyme with the short, dashed lines he uses to indicate leaves. The calligraphy is similar to Arabic writing — tantalizingly like something you could decipher, but its sense keeps eluding you.

A lovely undersea blue-green suffuses Bradley Fesmire’s 2014 A Misplaced Work Ethic, made with acrylic and pencil on three panels spanning six feet high and nine feet across. But the size seems too much, filled mainly with lots of thin, washy vertical dripped lines that become too regular as they repeat across the wide expanse. Along the right third, a vertical band of overlapping, stenciled letters — “thic,” “misc,” “clac” — resists comprehension. Instead your eyes might seek out a lighter, wavering strip of color running along the bottom edge and wide brushstrokes across the top, like the surface of waves.

Follow Greg Cook on Twitter @Aestheticresear.

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