Victor Cohen Stuart’s new body of work demonstrates the artist’s longstanding interest in paint as a physical material, and painting as sculpture. The artist’s process involves pouring latex enamel paints onto a horizontal surface and then walking away and leaving it long enough to thicken enough to resist (and yet still yield to) the next color that is poured on top of it. His process is therefore a kind of dance in slow motion, punctuated by passages of frenetic scribbling that bring passion and life to these organic landscapes of cells and orbs. While accident and improvisation loom large in this practice, the artist’s decisions remain evident everywhere–in each choice about contrast and color, and in each little circular drop that has been applied with painstaking intention. The result is a composition that harmoniously balances solid sculptural mass with gravity-defying movement and joyful energy.
In this most recent series, Stuart has created rubbery paint puddles that are meant to accompany the paintings and bring them emphatically into the realm of sculpture and installation art. Humorous and serious at the same time, the puddles reinforce the sense of process and play with gravity. While the paintings hold up without them, the puddles add dimension, activate the work, and function like a punctuation mark that finishes a sentence.
Victor Cohen Stuart is a Dutch national who grew up in Europe, Indonesia and in South America. Stuart came to California in the mid-1960s to study architecture and art at UC Berkeley, and never left. He has exhibited in numerous galleries in Northern California including Southern Exposure, William Sawyer Gallery, D.King Gallery, and Terrain Gallery, as well as the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum and the Oakland Museum. His work can be found in various public and private collections, including The Oakland Museum, Security Pacific Savings, and First Bank. Victor Cohen-Stuart currently resides in Oakland, CA, and is represented by SLATE contemporary.