Titled “and and and,” Matt Rich’s third solo show with Halsey McKay Gallery in East Hampton, runs now through January 1, and continues his ongoing play with the ideas of supports and surfaces, objecthood and observation, flatness and relief, abstraction and recognizability. Taking the stretcher bar out of the equation, Rich’s cut canvas pieces are assembled piece by piece into larger, constructed compositions. He has referred to his practice as having a “flawed clarity,” capturing the teetering — sometimes tense exchange — between painterly effect and precise construction.
Rich’s not-quite flat paintings unsettle, revel in and trample surfaces — their own as well as the gallery’s hard walls. Rich endows his paintings with an array of techniques that complicate their experience and presentation. He creates “surplus surfaces” — which cast undulating shadows under the lights of the gallery, part of an extending network of spatial, material engagements.
While his main language and approach remains that of color-based abstraction using basic geometric shapes, several of Rich’s paintings venture out to incorporate the recognizable figure of the ampersand. Rooted down in this familiar form, the works seem to reach out to something beyond. Rich’s sinuous rendering of the ampersand and its “and” meaning suggest an open-ended sense of connection and extension.
Also on view through January 1 is Victoria Fu’s first exhibition with Halsey McKay, which is installed in the upstairs gallery. The eponymous exhibition pairs a large printed silk curtain with a suite of new photographs. Arranged in this grouping, the works refer to the now common practice of touching and living with layers of screens — depicting colorful desktops, illuminated gradient windows and marks as if made by touchscreen gestures.
Fu’s work typically begins from technical images created with lens-based cameras, which she then manipulates and arranges, proceeding with a painterly sense of color and space. In doing so, Fu references both lived and virtual surroundings, lives immediately in and infinitely beyond the gallery.
Halsey McKay Gallery is at 79 Newtown Lane, East Hampton. Visit halseymckay.com for details.