Thursday, October 13, 2011

Preview: Scott Stack @ Monique Meloche

"I'm not interested in pure green, or pure red, or anything straight out of the tube," he said, "That's not color." All 'round us, punchy near-primary hues popped vividly into focus; Oak Park's autumnal display of foliage was especially glorious that sunny October afternoon. There, in the garden which girdled his home and studio, Scott Stack proceeded to search through the green leaves and red leaves till he found one which was in chromatic transition.

Scott Stack Preview Monique Meloche

"Do you see?" Stack queried, then pronounced: "That's color." And I was reminded that two years ago, when first I met Stack in Monique Meloche's gallery, his painting seemed to be the thing in transition:

Scott Stack @ moniquemeloche
Above: Scott Stack @ Monique Meloche, March 20, 2009

In 2009, Scott Stack appeared to straddle the opposing islands of representation and geometric abstraction; and which would prove to be the more enduring ground was then wholly unknown. In 2011, moving from the garden exterior to the studio interior, I was shocked to learn that every (easily recognizable) trace of the figure, architecture and landscape had vanished from his paintings:

Scott Stack Preview Monique Meloche
Above: Scott Stack outside his Oak Park studio, October 9, 2011
Scott Stack Preview Monique Meloche
Above: Stack's studio doors swung open
Scott Stack Preview Monique Meloche
Above: Scott Stack in studio, in 2011

Linear devices, which once were only ancillary, had grown in importance: becoming the building blocks of his compositions. In the new work, 10mm bands of oil-suspended pigment were arranged and blended on carefully-smoothed, well-gessoed cloth, so that "direction" and the illusion of three-dimensional space were indicated therein apart from any identifiable light source and corresponding shading.

Scott Stack Preview Monique Meloche
Above: Edge detail of new (2010-2011) painting
Scott Stack @ moniquemeloche
Above: Scott Stack with painting in 2009

During the studio visit, Stack spoke in an animated manner about the deconstruction and reconstruction of real physical structures, surveillance technology, war and the popular media portrayal thereof. The subtext of violence which informed his Pop sensibility linked him yet more closely, in my mind, to Ed Paschke--whose (figure) work from the 1980s, e.g., "Tempext," "Torrita," "Coupe Faim," "George Mills," I remembered too as hinging formally upon elements of linear abstraction. Paschke was thirteen years senior to Stack.

Scott Stack Preview Monique Meloche
Above: Stack explains process in studio, 2011

It's interesting to see things change--to see things become more sophisticated and refined--over time. Anne Wilson is now in her 60s; Barbara Kasten is in her 70s; they're both producing great work. As he leaves his 50s, Scott Stack has taken a massive leap forward with these new (2010-2011) paintings. It's worth stopping at the opening:

Saturday, October 15, 2011, from 4:00PM to 7:00PM
moniquemeloche gallery, 2154 W. Division Street
Chicago, IL 60622

Scott Stack Preview Monique Meloche
Above: Stack's brushes

Scott Stack: "City of the Future," runs through November 12, 2011. A talk with his fellow "Oak Parker" Michelle Grabner is scheduled to take place in the gallery on Saturday, November 12, 2011, at 1:00PM.

- Paul Germanos