Casper Brindle: “Azimuth” at William Turner Gallery

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Hidden Gold, 2013, Acrylic on panel, 44″ x 94″
Photo: Rob Brander, Courtesy William Turner Gallery

Casper Brindle’s new series of paintings seem to pay homage to the Southern California lifestyle and landscape like his previous work, although perhaps they were not done with that intention or purpose. Titled “Azimuth,” his new exhibition at William Turner definitely reflects the influence of the Finish Fetish and Light and Space movements, as well as that of artist Eric Orr, with whom Brindle worked briefly in the 1980s. The two artists share similar sensibilities and aesthetics, among them an interest in perception and the manipulation of it, and a preference for reflective materials. There’s also an element of astronomy in Brindle’s work, as the show’s title accentuates. Aside from that, his paintings have a glossy and smooth look due to coating them with resin, which recall the surfaces of cars and surfboards.

One of the strongest points of the show is Brindle’s use of color, through which he creates different ambiences. There is also an intensity and energy that radiate from his paintings, reminiscent of the California sun. Some of his canvases almost appear illuminated, as if a light is shining from behind through a gap. Others have that sense of spatial depth, as if we’re looking into infinity. In Hidden Gold, one can see a streak of dark turquoise cutting through the middle of a yellow canvas. The dark turquoise seems to represent the horizon, and the yellow the sun. The thin layer of light turquoise reflects the experience of light appearing slightly paler around a horizon. Thus the work, which is airbrushed with metal flake car paint like his other paintings, demonstrates the sensation of the sun sinking below the horizon, causing that golden, fading light of day. The painting also tricks one’s eyes to see it as a close-up, recalling that optical illusion that we know about the sun or the moon, in which they appear larger near the horizon than while higher up in the sky.

Overall, Brindle’s “Azimuth” surely invites to a scientific dialogue about the phenomenon of “scattering” and the shifting colors in the course of a day, and the function of the atmosphere and how it is in danger, as well as a broader discussion about how pollution has contributed to such a ravishing show of reds, pinks and oranges during sunsets in LA.

—SIMONE KUSSATZ