Visual Arts

Wade Wilson Welcomes the AAM

On the occasion of the massive convention of the American Association of Museums, which is still underway, Wade Wilson Art opened its doors for several days of receptions to welcome the conventioneers into Houston's community of collectors and fans of Modernist painting.

Wade Wilson has been showing works by American Joseph Marioni and German Peter Tollens since the beginning of April. They are described by Wade Wilson as the leading practitioners today of the Concrete Movement, which had its beginnings with Theo Van Doesburg and Piet Mondrian nearly a century ago.

In the gallery, works by each artist were hung in strategic alternation. Marioni's are deceptively simple color fields, usually in warm or muted colors, layers of acrylic rolled onto stretched linen. Their engagement with color and light is revealed at their edges, where the paint has been allowed to retain their vertical drips, and where the layering is made apparent by leaving the bottoms "unfinished." Morioni's new work apparently has taken on more vibrant colors, like "Cobalt Blue" and "Crimson." The others more closely resemble the paintings of Tollens in their flat application of warm yellow and pale green.

Tollens' paintings initially make the stronger foray into texture, their surfaces rendered with regular patches of paint applied like mortar, their monochromatic schemes complicated with slight differences in hue across their almost orderly array.

Marioni and Tollens both present work that "has no other significance than 'itself'" (as formulated by Theo van Doesburg, a founder of the precedent De Stijl movement in 1917). At first glance, Marioni's surfaces tend to disappear under their deep color, but the helpful interpolation of his works with Tollens' helps draw our attention to the rather subtle and fluid textures at work, not just at the edges, but emerging across the entire field of a given painting.

For the week of AAM receptions, Wade Wilson also opened up a second gallery space across the hall to show works by several from his stable of artists, including Michael Crowder's good-humored display-puzzles, magnificent landscapes by Libby Masterson, and photos by Stephen Torton of Jean-Michel Basquiat playfully posing a young Madonna with artichokes.

Specific alliances with the two featured artists were found in works by Peter Sacks, whose painted surfaces are richly textured with lace, collard shirts, and typeography, as well as Joseph Cohen, whose "propositions" have thick skins of latex paint that have been poured over surfaces, producing layers of hidden color only glancingly revealed.

The Marioni-Tollens show is on view until May 28. Visit for more information.

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Hank Hancock
Contact: Hank Hancock