August 13 – September 18 2021
Bjorn & Gundorph Gallery is proud to present “Off-Ramp”, a solo exhibition of new and earlier paintings by
American artist Michael Scott. Initially known for his signature black and white “line” paintings widely exhibited in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, this exhibition marks the artist’s return to the European scene after his last show in Paris in 2019.
After dabbling in the fashionable abstract expressionist style of the late 1980s that celebrated individualism, Scott formulated a reactionary position designed to question the basic concept of originality. Inspired by the
black paintings by Ad Reinhardt and the date paintings of On Kawara, Scott created a series of target paintings consisting of black and white concentric circles that appear identical with only slight variations, intending to remove the aspect of qualitative judgment from the viewing experience.
After Scott felt he reached an endpoint with this body of work, he moved on to series of black and white line paintings driven by the concept of making works so intensely optical that in theory, they could be impossible for the human eye to view, a complete inversion of the traditional function of painting. Scott differentiated these works from the Op Art movement of the 1960’s because their focus was on content rather than aesthetics.
Once he felt he exhausted this critique of opticality, he moved into a series of color-line paintings that embrace their own viewing rather than deny it.
These new works display a heightened emphasis on humanism, showcasing the presence of the artist’s hand as well as a more automatic painting process – the works rely less on mechanical perfection and more on the inherent imperfections that occur in the intuitive process of creation. Later and up till today Scott again began to use more stabilized forms – often simple vertical straight lines, but still allowing himself to experiment with disrupted or fragmented lines and abstractions.
Today his classic signature line paintings are less programmatic and the artist puts more emphasis on working intuitively, allowing chance, rhythms and musical impulses to be evident. Steering away from subjectivity, Michael Scott explores a systematic approach to painting, which though pure and linear in form, remains painterly.