Saturday, April 5, 2008

Alex Zecca at G16

by Kenneth Baker

SF-Chronicle-2008.04San Francisco artist Alex Zecca falls among a number of artists, working here and elsewhere, born in the ’70s and trying to formulate their own connections to art of the ’60s.

Zecca draws in colored inks in ways that bring to mind Op Art, the wall drawings of Sol LeWitt (1928-2007) and sometimes Color Field painting. His drawings also deliver reminders of perspective construction as one of the roots of European art tradition. Zecca’s show of recent work ends today at Gallery 16, but those who think they know his limits may want to hurry over for a look.

“November 16, 2007” – titled for the date of its completion – offers a particularly successful example of how Zecca chooses an order for his hand-ruled lines in color and follows it with prodigious strictness. The discipline in this case resulted in the illusion of a
right-angled corridor space, created partly by off-the-page vanishing points. Zecca’s color choices and the angles and intervals in his pattern’s progression cause moire effects to occur, leaving the eye with the impression of looking at an energy field, not just a
regular thicket of lines.

As with some of the best work of Robert Irwin, we see in Zecca’s finest pieces something of how we see. Unlike Op Art, Zecca’s drawings do not punish the eye. And unlike Color Field painting, they show us color interaction at levels of detail we almost never get to study, even in art.