David Rhodes | Aletheia
January 18 - March 3, 2024
High Noon is pleased to present David Rhodes's first exhibition with the gallery, Aletheia. For nearly two decades, Rhodes has devoted his practice to a strict but dynamic painting register. The construction is straightforward— several different widths of tape are applied laterally in diagonals atop raw canvas and covered entirely with black acrylic paint. The tape is then removed, revealing the immediacy of the image. The canvas has a particularly thick weave, allowing the substrate to play a collaborative role in the line quality and disrupting the mechanized look of a masked-off border often present in hard-edge abstraction. While seemingly uniform, the black is mixed with a medium that provides a slight luster and applied with a series of gestural marks. The marks only become visible under certain light conditions that cast a soft sheen across the surface, amplifying the work’s analog presence and warmly contrasting the austerity of their optical impact.
Rhodes’s utilitarian philosophy of image-making is commensurate with Heidegger’s etymological analysis of Aletheia, the Greek goddess of Truth from whom the exhibition borrows its title. In Heidegger’s interpretation, Truth is defined not as accuracy or factuality but as “disclosure,” wherein Truth is most fundamentally accessed through one’s everyday being. The artist’s tools, practice, and lifestyle, as they relate to traditional labor and labor as an index of time, are all present in the paintings, which are titled with the date they were created. The specific black used in each painting also corresponds to the cities he’s worked in over the years.
“It is simply that the passages from one day to another are irregular,” Rhodes explains, “And that this is not even, or homogeneous, this passage is not only a chronological meter. There is a rhythm one feels as days pass and there is rhythm, speed, be it irregular or not, in my paintings... I want [them] to have a connection and resonance with the day-to-day world as it is experienced or recalled.”
For the first time since Rhodes began working in this register, these paintings are absent of any bisecting fields of opposing lines, and the central drama of the piece is a black void separating two sets of parallel lines. The use of black alone is informed by a litany of influences from Japanese Noh Theatre to Matisse’s revolutionary 1913 series of monotypes, which asserted that not only is black a color, but it is also a source of light.
As the viewer’s eyes move from painting to painting, the slow distinctions eventually become glaring, the complexity heightened by structural delineations. The black spaces oscillate between positive and negative, implying that the sets of lines that expand outward towards the margins can be read as being on the same or different planes. Occasionally, these lines give the illusion of beginning to cross the central boundary, recalling a visual representation of Henri Bergson’s theory of Duration, which asserts that time can only be accurately expressed as an incomplete image. In one Bergson model, two spools are depicted with a line of thread running between them. While one spool unravels, the other rolls up like memory accumulating with the progression of a lifespan.
David Rhodes (b. 1955, Manchester, England) has exhibited internationally, including one-person exhibitions at Anthony Wilkinson Gallery (London), Centrum (Berlin), Palacete Viscondes de Balsemao (Porto), Galerie Katharina Krohn (Basel), Hionas Gallery (New York), and most recently, Tat Art (Barcelona) in 2017. His work has been included in numerous two- person and group exhibitions, including, Gary Stephan / David Rhodes at Hionas Gallery (New York), Notebook curated by Joanne Greenbaum at 56 Henry (New York), Downtown Painting curated by Alex Katz at Peter Freeman Inc. (New York), and in 2022 Singing in Unison at The Scully Tomasko Foundation, and Below Grand, (New York), curated by Phong Bui and Cal McKeever. He has independently curated exhibitions in London, Berlin, and New York, most recently Split at Zürcher Gallery (New York) in 2017. His work is in the permanent collections of The Museum of Fine Arts (Houston), The Huntington Museum (Los Angeles), The Victoria & Albert Museum (London), CCA Andratx (Mallorca), and The Bohuslans Museum (Uddevalla). He was awarded a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant and nominated for a Louis Comfort Tiffany Award in 2022.
Brooklyn Rail | David Rhodes: ALETHEIA by Saul Ostrow
d'Art International | Six Short Takes on Painting Exhibitions in New York by John Mendelsohn