beta pictoris gallery is excited to present Blinded, a series of new paintings by Derek Cracco, focusing on the ephemera of light. “I am intrigued by those moments when we see only a single color of light,” Cracco explains, and Blinded explores these moments through searing images of fireworks, explosions and other flashes of light.
In a nod to the French Post-Impressionist painter Georges Seurat, who devised a painting method that consisted of creating an image from thousands of colored dots, Cracco constructs a series of intimate, detailed pointillist-style paintings. Over as many as seven separate layers separated by barrier coats, he turns his focus on repetition and attention to detail into fields of flashes, stars and light. Cracco’s influences range from astronomy to particle physics to music, shifting and oscillating between the macro and the micro, between the illusions of light in works like Staring at the Sun (detail shown on top) and the disruptions the images dissolve into when viewed at close range.
These works also embody Cracco’s nuanced understanding of color theory. In a lineage drawn from Viktor Vasarely, Cracco combines the subtleties of color with both optics and illusion to create retinal images that work on multiple levels. As Cracco explains it, the use of the field of single dots allows him to get to the aspects of the works that he finds most interesting: color and light. At the same time, this fragmented, pixelated vision also suggests the fleeting nature of both the digital and the printed, of the shift from the benday dot and simple red, green and blue image construction to its more modern antecedent of cyan, magenta, yellow and black. Cracco works with an understanding of color theory’s construction of images from three or four colors, but works through these limitations by hand-mixing his palette to show a shrewd understanding of tone and hue.
Cracco invites viewers into the intimacy and the danger of light, whether it is the low light of a candle, the flash of colliding atoms, or the blinding light of the sun, Blinded highlights the importance of the surface, the value of improvisation and the simple fact that just as light cannot turn a corner, when you get to the edges of these new works the illusion breaks down, leaving viewers with the memory of being blinded by the intimacy and the intricacy of color and paint.
Derek Cracco lives and works in Birmingham, AL and for the past twelve years he has been professor of printmaking at the University of Alabama Birmingham.
His work has been exhibited throughout the US. Blinded is his first solo exhibition with beta pictoris gallery.
Staring at the Sun
Just Before The Eclipse
Capriccio 3 Capriccio 4 Capriccio 6
La Petite Mort
acrylic, inkjet on rice paper,
glitter, and resin on panel
ca. 48 by 36 in.
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