There are a handful of artists on my radar that I’ve been following since being an art writer for almost two years now. Kadar Brock happens to be one of them. It was very important that I attend his first solo exhibition – dredge, as the new art season kicked off last September 4th at The Hole.
Rewind back in March 2012 when I first saw Kadar Brock’s work at a group show. He only had one piece but it was sublime in its context and the way the canvas almost obliterated into a gossamer haze. I did not forget about him and his work as I went on to review more shows that year as various art pieces blurred one after another. March 2013 was the second time and it was at Volta NY during Armory Arts Week that I saw his work displayed. It was slightly different and more layered than the previous year. I can tell that he evolved into a much bolder direction. I got the tip from Kathy Grayson that he will be opening the fall season at her space. So I made a mental note and waited for the summer to pass.
Walking into the main gallery at The Hole, it was filled with Brock’s signature paintings – all distressed and sanded paintings where the canvas is heavily perforated. Seeing a plethora of these works drove the sublime “history” paintings into overdrive. Now there is not only one, it was an entire collection where he dredged up decades old paintings that he sanded down and sort of refinished. It is a testament of what he could do and in distressing that he whittled it down to the bare essence of his thoughtful aesthetic. It is in that judicious manipulation of when to stop sanding and to what degree of wearing the surface down with perforated holes that hit the sweet spot. It is always a convention in art that editing and restraint is more difficult than piling things on. As Henry James once quoted “In art, economy is always beauty.” Therein lies the sublime beauty in Brock’s oeuvre that is not overly labored to death. He knew not to get carried away with distressing and totally destroy the surface to a bloody pulpy mess. It is the concise balance between creativity and destruction.
The works in the inner gallery by Kasper Sonne also illustrated the same balance with canvasses that have burn patterns and pummeled silver sculptures. His work perfectly pairs up with Brock’s. Perhaps there is a thin gossamer thread or theme with these artists. It takes great confidence and skill to create something in the art of destruction. Blast it! Beat the heck out of it! Drill it down! But just let the art come forth.