When it comes to scale, an artist usually knows his or her strengths and sticks to one size or another. It’s a rarity to find an individual who has compelling aesthetic chops both when creating smaller as well as larger works. John Zurier is one individual who seems comfortable creating reductive abstractions in any size he sees fit.
As is readily evident in his exhibition of new paintings at Peter Blum Gallery, Zurier has a compelling ability to apply sensitively considered passages of muted color. Billed as monochromes, these works highlight Zurier’s acuity to touch and knowing when to pull back, never straying into stale waters. He works both in oil and distemper, a primitive blend of rabbit skin glue and raw pigment. His material decisions allow for meticulously implemented subtleties to steal the show. Hazy washes applied to the linen amount to cloudy abstractions opening up to spaces as vast as the viewer can imagine. His compositions are sparse and highly considered, while the artist’s sense of touch seems raw and immediate.
It is a show to be seen by anyone typically seduced by the importance of the hand. Selecting his painterly moves carefully, Zurier has carved out a niche for himself; one that is appreciated by those who find excitement in some good old visual poetry.