Eric Mack’s new collaged paintings, at Whitespace through March 29, bring bits of Wassily Kandinsky and Kurt Schwitters into the 21st century by way of the shapes of deconstructivist architecture. In SRFC-1991, for example, Kandinsky-like geometric shapes and Schwitters-like segments of measuring tape take on a three-dimensional energy that transmutes into dizzying tilts and whirls in other pieces in the series.
It’s mathematically based rendering with a distinct post-postmodern twist, for which we have had no satisfactory name in terms of period style for quite some time now. Mack, who had a studio at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center before moving to Munich, simply says that his influences other than deconstructivist buildings are topology and non-Euclidian geometries.
Mack hones his forms with a tightness and precision that is consciously at variance with the looser style in which he worked before his several-year residency in Munich. Experiencing diverse architectures and ways of being from central Europe to Corsica and Turkey, Mack found new depths within himself as well as new methods of viewing and making. The two-dimensional, pastel-shaded squares of SRFC-91, forming a foreground above freeform multiple perspectives that recede into pictorial space, create a sense of ungroundedness in the viewer; it parallels, just as Mack tells us, his own psychological discoveries during this time spent living and traveling in cultures and histories other than his own.
The impossible architectures and exploding geometries of other works (all titled SRFC with numbers) produce different varieties of pleasurable vertigo, which becomes more intense the longer they are looked at. The relative flatness and light-filled open space of the large SRFC-49 comes as a visual respite amid this shifting kaleidoscope of forms.
These eight mixed media pieces (three on canvas, five on paper) at Whitespace display a new complexity that points to future productive developments from this increasingly impressive artist.
Mack will spend March 29, the last day of the exhibition, in the gallery to answer questions or just converse.