Magazine article Artforum International

Tod Wizon; NICHOLAS ROBINSON GALLERY

Magazine article Artforum International

Tod Wizon; NICHOLAS ROBINSON GALLERY

Article excerpt

Rarely has a series been titled more aptly than Tod Wizon's "Little Darknesses," 1996. The acrylic panel paintings that make up this suite of fourteen nocturnes are a uniform eleven by eight inches and lean on a somber palette of dense blues, punctuated by waves of gray and shafts of radiant yellow. Essentially abstract but strongly suggestive of oceanic vistas and drama on a cosmic scale, they were here secreted in the gallery's basement, as if they had been stewing there for years in their own doomy, romantic juice. Arranged in a numbered sequence loosely suggestive of narrative flow, these physically modest works can be imagined as illustrations of Genesis or Revelations, documenting epic mythical events in an unassuming style.

The New York-based Wizon has exhibited extensively since the late 1970s, but much less often over the past ten years. Beginning as a landscape painter, he moved gradually toward a more psychologically inflected practice and a less conventionally representational approach. It is hard, then, not to wonder what specific circumstances might have prompted this show's brooding mood, but more productive, perhaps, to consider the group a universe unto itself. The press release drops casual mention of Wizon's fascination with "Promethean creativity" and characterizes "Little Darknesses" as "emotionally baroque," but otherwise leaves biographical cues and clues out of the interpretive equation.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Opening with a glimmer of light in Black Sheep and concluding with the allover darkness of Mars, Wizon employs layers of translucent color in the service of timeless, turbulent drama. In abstract works like After Hives and Shadowplay, as well as in more nearly figurative entries such as Theater of Rain and Kiss of Day, he focuses exclusively on storm-wracked, gothic atmospherics. …

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