The Kristen Lorello Gallery in New York is currently presenting a solo exhibition of Gerard Mullin’s painted and carved wood reliefs. The artist begins by painting abstract images with watercolor, wood dye, and acrylic on sheets of plywood. Then starting at one edge he carves a row of a single type of geometric shape.
In this first example the first carving is the bottom row of Isosceles triangles. Carving by hand – without a template – the rows of triangles fluctuate in size creating a sense of motion.
The carved sections of the work are then painted white. This accentuates the 3-D aspects of the work allowing a clean surface to display the shadows from the carving. The brightness of the white paint in the recesses of the work contrasting with darker surface painting creates an interesting switch in positive and negative space.
This second work work began with a row of equilateral triangles across the bottom, but then developed into rows of double triangles positioned base to base to form a diamond pattern.
Looking at the work from a side angle, the diamonds are concave 4-sided pyramid indentations. The nature of Mullin’s carving technique creates a type of off-kilter grid. This is an unexpected quality for the exploration of gridded geometric spaces. The initial abstract painting also adds a dimension to the work, taking it another direction from hard edge and minimalist interpretations of geometry. Mullin offers his viewers a chance to look at familiar shapes within a new, freer, and less formal structure.