Bret Slater's: Five Colored Flag Machine Gallery
Makeshift Paradise in Ossining, New York
By: Adam Zucker - Jul 06, 2009
Flag Machine Gallery
15 Croton Avenue, Ossining, New York 10562
Weekends 12-6 or by appointment with the artist
Bret Slater's paintings represent a personal iconography for the artist, similar in the ways to which a flag represents its location. The difference is the humanistic element in Slater's paintings, evident by process, with substantial surface texture, and the behavior that the paint embodies when applied to the canvas. Slater's work celebrates the aesthetic beauty of the modern world that often combines natural and unnatural environments. The paintings are abstract geometric constructs that present a pragmatic aesthetic interpretation. They embody a physical entity of culture in line with individual activity. The works appear minimal in form but are complex in function.
The work questions what we should consider when we judge art. In these paintings both the aesthetics and the process hold equal artistic merit. When you stand in front of the paintings, examine the carefully executed application of the acrylic paint mixed with latex. Slater creates his surfaces by layering medium on the canvas and building up the textures that give context to his paintings. They are more than objects and give value to what an image can stand for in social context.
The artist says that his painting is a celebration of being human. It conveys the functionality of modern living and design, which are great influences on the artist. Unlike many of his contemporaries, however, Slater's art is a refreshing revelation in abstract geometric painting. There is expressive action in these paintings. They combine the technique and precision of Kenneth Noland or Frank Stella while the drips and gestural strokes bring to mind Abstract Expressionism.
The artist recently graduated from SUNY Purchase with a degree in Fine Art. He received the dean's senior recognition award in paintings and drawing as an undergraduate. His senior show at Purchase was entitled Five Color Flag Machine. Slater took an unorthodox step when he opened a makeshift gallery to exhibit his series of paintings. The space is a storefront that originally was a law firm located in downtown Ossining.
In these uncertain economic times many commercial galleries are feeling the pressure and folding. These galleries which once had the freedom to make more experimental exhibitions are returning to showing "safer" blue chip artists. It's hard for a young artist to get representation especially when coming out of art school. Slater is testament to the phrase "if you build it they will come," creating a gallery in the most unlikely of places.
As an ambitious entrepreneur he took all the steps entailed in preparing an exhibition, while spending considerably less money. The Five Color Flag Machine gallery is located at 15 Croton Avenue and will be open for viewing by appointment or on the weekends until August 2nd. In the fall he will attend Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, where he will pursure graduate study in painting.