Among the nine new oil paintings in Jon Pestoni’s first solo exhibition with Lisa Cooley Fine Art, Black Out (2010) stands out in its breathy and brooding darkness.
All of his canvases have rich surfaces that employ both simple geometric and amorphous forms suspended in delicate, painterly fields. Pestoni brushes or rakes the dry, vibrant color across the canvas in wide sweeping strokes. The gestures are controlled but the work retains a lyrical sensibility heightened in part by his use of keyed-up color.
But Black Out, with its witchy, hypnotic palette, is the raspy-voiced chanteuse amongst the more restrained charm school set. A performative painting, it breaks away from the subtle poetics which dominate the show to give us something bawdy and wonderful.
A collection of dainty, white, elongated forms undulate within an inky Gothic space. The dark canvas builds upon thin veils of magenta and translucent purple while deep neutral grays obscure small patches of rich blue and green. Opaque swathes of gunmetal sit upon this complex and weathered surface to reveal a keen inner luminosity.
Jon Pestoni at Lisa Cooley Fine Art, January 16 to February 20, 2011. 34 Orchard Street, between Hester and Canal streets, New York City, (212) 680-0564print