Don Voisine


Don Voisine
Nov 21, 2019 – Jan 18, 2020

Robischon Gallery is pleased to present three, concurrent solo exhibitions by New York artists Richard Serra, Don Voisine and Stephen Westfall with a two-person exhibition by Colorado artists Kate Petley and Derrick Velasquez. The five artists on view challenge and investigate varying aspects of abstraction, including Minimalism and Geometric Abstraction, in a variety of media.  From print work to painting as well as sculpture, the artists’ explorations into visual weight, color and surface are expansive in both composition and form.  The dynamic yet nuanced large-scale textural prints of preeminent sculptor Richard Serra, leading into the bold and color-saturated paintings of highly regarded artists Don Voisine and Stephen Westfall, alongside the process and material-based work of recognized artists Kate Petley and Derrick Velasquez, influence and add to the vocabulary of abstraction with their distinctive pursuits.  Each of the exhibited artists invite the viewer to engage in a dialogue between light and dark, gravity and weightlessness and to experience a sense of the architectural. 

Don Voisine

“I am concerned with the language of space – how it delineates boundaries, exposes points of access, exit or entry, and enables the user to interact with the structure of a defined space. This simple vernacular of architecture informs my paintings.”

Robischon Gallery is pleased to present its third solo exhibition of artist Don Voisine’s work, featuring a series of both small and large-scale paintings on panel. Equal parts mathematical precision and the fine directional brushwork evident of the artist’s hand, Voisine’s signature approach began as an intimate response to floor plans of the physical spaces he inhabited. Evolving over time, but remaining grounded in Geometric Abstraction, Voisine relies less on specific sites and far more on what the artist calls, “the language of space.” Voisine’s seductive paintings invite an intimate inspection of their painted surfaces, while prompting further consideration of the illusion contained within each of his central obsidian elements as their surfaces shift in and out of perceptual view from a matte to glossy finish. The artist states that, “the paintings are made in a very straight forward manner, no tricks, no flourishes, and no fancy mediums yet all displaying some evidence of the hand within the structure of the composition. The paintings are made by overlaying or abutting planes or bands, generally combining no more than four or five main elements. The accumulated starts and stops of the hand-painted lines create a shimmer across the panel, activating the field. Although tape is used to mask off areas, my paintings are obviously hand-painted gaining some visual buzz from the dialogue between the hard edged and the imperfections.”

Known best for his works with strong ink-black centers with bands of color edges, Voisine sometimes omits the black hue for works of pure floating colors of pigment-rich red, orange or blue. Yet for this exhibition, the all-black central elements in some works have the symmetry disrupted by the addition of sweeping perpendicular elements, overlapping or diminishing in scale so that a sense of movement becomes palpable. In addition to Voisine’s signature smaller or medium scale works, the inclusion of very large painted panels, like the towering List with its pale blue side borders and Double Elvis with its metallic pigments, convincingly allude to architecture while evoking a somewhat different sense of movement. According to Hyperallergic writer Carl Little, “Where Voisine’s earlier work often referenced specific architecture, including the floor plans of places where he lived and worked, the paintings now are more universal and iconic, achieving a kind of purity that can stop you in your tracks. The central towering shape of List, leaning to the left, has a presence akin to the monolith in ‘2001: A Space Odyssey.’ It might seem curious to talk about motion in these solid works, but dynamic they are.”

Further, critic John Yau remarks, “With each new exhibition it becomes more apparent that Voisine is adding his own earned options to the legacy of geometric abstraction, as established by Piet Mondrian and Kasimir Malevich, and further extended by Ad Reinhardt, Barnet Newman, and others. This is no small accomplishment, as it attests to the possibility of artistic growth through something other than capitalist markers of progress (i.e, personal branding, marketing, or entrepreneurship, or the use of new materials and up-to-date processes). While some critics and curators might consider what Voisine does as old-fashioned, I see its refusal to celebrate entrepreneurship’s penchant for displaying its capacity for excess as a commitment to the radical roots of abstract painting.” Don Voisine’s painted shifts of illusionary form can be interpreted as an apt metaphor in an ever changing fast-paced age, or more simply considered as a straight-forward and undeniably elegant approach toward abstraction.  Either way, personal interpretation and an engagement with the viewer is enhanced through movement, an inherent dynamic in the artist’s lively and timeless work.

Considered an “artist’s artist,” New York painter Don Voisine attended the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, in Deer Isle, Maine and the Rochester Institute of Technology. In 2019, he was a recipient of the The Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program, and an Artist Fellow in Painting finalist for the New York Foundation for the Arts in 2018. In 2011, Voisine was awarded the Purchase Prize at the Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME and the Hassam, Speicher, Betts and Symons Purchase Fund Award at the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, NY. His work is in numerous permanent collections including: Art in Embassies Program, United States Department of State, Washington, DC; Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; National Academy Museum, New York, NY; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Missoula Art Museum, Missoula, MT; New York Public Library, NY; Phillips Collection, Washington, DC; Neuberger Berman, New York, NY; Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA; Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME; and the Joel and Lila Harnett Print Study Center, University of Richmond Museum, Richmond, VA, among others.