The paintings of San Francisco-based artist Brent Hallard are wonderfully simple. He seems to commit to symmetrical, hard-edged abstraction and then in the next instance make a work or series like Vitamin that seems to say he knows these are expected to be hard-edged paintings, but see? Sometimes they’re not. And to prove it, he’ll color outside the lines. If you think that angle is an illusion of color and cut, look again. It might or it might not be.
The edges are so distinct and the colors so bright that they very nearly press into optical territory. Some of his pieces are perfectly symmetrical, yet the boundaries shift as we run our eyes from segment to segment, stripe to stripe, as the color plays slight tricks on our eyes. Larger pieces such as the Wall works, press into architectural territory with their angularity that might suggest floor plans or renderings of 3D objects.
What I enjoy about the paper pieces, particularly in examples like Vitamin A, is the paper’s natural tendency to curl, which we would expect the moisture in the paint to cause. The gentle curve of the surface addresses the material quality of the paper, accentuating the notion that it can only be controlled so much. The carefully-masked edges are defied by a slight warp; a more obvious curl complements a piece where paint sneaks past Sharpie-marked boundaries.
Check out more work and keep up with news on the artist at brenthallard.us.