Morgan Lehman is pleased to present “Tell Me Everything”, an exhibition of recent paintings by Rachel Ostrow. This marks the artist’s first solo show with the gallery.
Rachel Ostrow’s paintings are built upon formal concerns such as space, movement, shape, and light, but blend these ingredients using a refreshingly exuberant energy. Though abstract and even otherworldly in their visual makeup, the works contain recognizable elements and create space for a range of interpretations. Ostrow’s paintings give authority to the viewer’s imagination to navigate their own visual experience, indulging in the mystery and mutability of perception.
The artist is interested in the interconnectedness of the body and the mind, and how physical movement and gesture might give form to an image. Painting with a squeegee, Ostrow unearths these forms by spreading transparent oil paint on the painting support. The colors combine under pressure from the rubber blade and mix together based on their specific material properties, forming detailed passages that are irregular, spontaneous, and evocative of natural phenomena.
The works seem to emit light from their cores in the manner of a TV or computer screen. The glowing, vibratory color passages push against opaque zones of almost pure black or other flat color, a sort of color void. These boundaries lend definition and clarity to each work, and through the visual mechanism of the vignette, emphasize the intensity of the chromatic activity. The extreme light-dark value range and flowing, sensual forms point to various art-historical references including chiaroscuro and Baroque figuration, as well as darkroom photography and experimental film.
Ostrow’s gestures are guided by controlled motion, but the way the paint reacts underneath is unbridled. The paintings are filled with the spirit of chance and discovery. They exist as physical records of movement, both natural and woman-made. These works embody the relationship between intention and accident, echoing our universe’s dynamic between order and chaos. Each piece contains a collection of miraculous, tiny interactions that have been swept up through gesture and landed together into strangely approachable forms. Their cumulative energy is insistent, playful, and searching. As viewers, we are invited to enter Ostrow’s radiant world with a sense of wonder and purpose.
Rachel Ostrow is a Brooklyn-based painter and printmaker. She earned an M.F.A. in painting from Hunter College, a post-baccalaureate degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and a B.A. in Fine Arts from Wesleyan University. She has had solo exhibitions at Planthouse (Manhattan, NY), 42 Social Club (Lyme, CT); Sunday Takeout (Brooklyn, NY); The Kenan Center (Lockport, NY); John Davis Gallery (Hudson, NY); Saffron (Brooklyn, NY); and Todojunto Gallery (Barcelona, Spain). She has been included in exhibitions in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Montreal, Joshua Tree, CA; Santa Barbara, CA; Great Barrington, MA; Toledo, OH; and Ballinskelligs, Ireland.