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Casper Brindle @ Nancy Toomey

Aura 4, 2016, acrylic and metallic leaf on panel, 48 x 72"

by David M. Roth


Finish Fetish and Light and Space – twin poles of minimalist LA art in the ‘60s – come together in the work of Casper Brindle, a one-time assistant to Eric Orr (1939-98), a polymath whose mystical leanings Brindle takes up in painting, one of Orr's many pursuits.  Until recently, Brindle's operated in Finish Fetish mode, with spray-painted horizontal panels depicting flamboyantly hued skyscapes from beneath glossy sheens.  Several examples are on view. 


In his latest work, the Aura series, he takes a different and more promising tack, one that hews closer to the spiritual side of Orr — the part in which the late artist, using luminous volumes of paint surrounded by metallic surfaces, tricked the eye into seeing beyond the physical object. Orr was interested in Zen Buddhism and mysteries of perception, and so it seems is Brindle.  In these paintings he sprays varying gradations of white onto wood panels,

Aura 2, 2016, acrylic and metallic leaf on panel, 48 x 48"

and inserts into them rectangular lengths of metallic foil that function as totems.  Beveled edges painted red cast a faint pink glow, producing a low-key optical buzz that drives our attention directly to those central shapes.  However, it’s the neutral colors surrounding them, laid down in varying opacities and in colors ranging from pure white to yellow-gray, that de-focus our gaze, turning the surfaces of each work into big vibrating fields. 


Like his artistic progenitors, Brindle, 49, sees painting not as an end, but as a portal to someplace else. The big question is: are the places Brindle takes us substantially different from those we’ve been taken to by the likes of Robert Irwin, Larry Bell and Mary Corse?  Judgments will ultimately rest on where Brindle goes next with these investigations.

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Casper Brindle: “Light and Space Divisible” @ Nancy Toomey Fine Art through June 17, 2017. 

About the author:

David M. Roth is the editor and publisher of Squarecylinder. 

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