The assiduous, mathematical, and meticulously patterned paintings of Kate Russo are certainly oils of a different ilk. Applied in bright marks and backgrounds which shift in color according to their ovoid grids, Russo’s paintings, here titled “Abstract Personalities,” are both subtle and obsessive. But while they must have necessitated impressive labors and granted their maker remarkable lessons to color theory, these pieces do little to jump off the panel when they don’t align with one’s particular chromatic affinities, or perhaps nostalgia for postwar cotton fabrics. I’ve enjoyed other, more boldly conceptualized studies of Russo’s before, but something about the eggy-ness of these feels cute. This is smart, snappy, process-heavy, mathematical art that occasionally stretches certain color relationships past their comfort zone without managing to break them; it’ll look great in someone’s kitchen.
Visitors might not leave Aucocisco with many lasting insights this time around, but they could catch two young and undoubtedly devoted painters piecing together their lasting forms. To the committed, broadminded art-goer, that’s sometimes even better.
“Reconstruction,” oil paintings by Ellie Porta Barnet + “Abstract Personalities,” paintings by Kate Russo | through April 5 | at Aucocisco Galleries, 89 Exchange St, Portland | 207.775.2222