While some works invite you to step up and take a closer look, the thrill of the space between, Warren Rosser's current exhibition at Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art in Kansas City, is standing back and allowing the eye to absorb it in full. Mostly oil paint on linen, each work is a multimetered and fully syncopated experience. With both his large and small paintings (84" x 60" and 20" x 16"), outline of shapes embrace a portion of color that lifts itself up and very nearly separates from the canvas. When you step back, the effect is immediate; abstract pastoral imagery that makes an appeal to freethinking imagination. Call it Cubist, call it Abstraction or call it Pop, what Rosser employs here fires up the senses. Experienced in full, whatever school or process one might be reminded of, the elements are all in sync and neither countermands the other. Simply put, the work is beautiful.
The rectangular and triangular forms cleave well together, each picture appears to undulate and breathe. Shapes are tilted or compressed, but with enough air inside each of them to eliminate any flatness in their individuality. This juxtaposition suggests a third dimension. Straightforward and open, there is nothing complicated, nor austere, about Rosser's work.
Warren Rosser has the vocabulary to enlighten our conversations about the way we see and think. He is the William T. Kemper Distinguished Professor of Painting, and Chair of the Painting Department at the Kansas City Art Institute.
With a long and provocative career, he continues to explore a steady and sturdy practice. His work is exhibited locally, nationally and internationally, starting in 1968 as part of Young British Artists at Tate Gallery London National Arts Council Touring Exhibition of the United Kingdom, and also include Kunstmuseum, Düsseldorf, Germany, the Galleria Del Cavallino, Venice, Italy, and at the Edinburgh Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland. Over the decades, other exhibitions include University of Leeds, England, Jan Weiner Gallery in Kansas City; Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis; Albrecht Kemper Museum, St Joseph, Missouri; and Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha, Nebraska. the space between, is by no means the final link in a chain of outstanding work, but a flow of continuity.
Within this exhibit, shapes are unburdened by their backgrounds. Each is a separate element unto itself that does not negate the presence of the other. They appear to be indicative of the hope society imposes upon itself to continue thriving by allowing space and room to grow within the spheres of oneself. Rosser gives us options that allow viewers to dissect and disseminate, not only in how we choose to examine work, seeing beyond the edge of his canvases, but also where we, as a culture are also headed; peering over borders and looking past the frame. The outlines in his work should not be considered a finality of form, but a chance to fully explore what extends beyond. Rosser is introducing us to the threshold of revelation and all one needs to do is walk through to become enlightened.
Warren Rosser: the space between
January 30 - March 22, 2014
Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art
2004 Baltimore Avenue, Kansas City, Missouri 64108