Kenneth Baker reviews an exhibition of paintings by Rudolf de Crignis at the Berkeley Art Museum, on view through May 5, 2013.
Baker writes: "Canvases in various hues of blue and gray, plus some very low-definition drawings, sparsely fill the walls of two large galleries. The paintings' differences in size, hue and shape at first appear too trivial to merit sustained attention. But something begins to happen for a viewer who actually stops to compare them. After a few minutes similar canvases cease looking like versions of one another, or like exemplars of an unstated program, although de Crignis (1948-2006) did say 'each painting I execute is part of a larger understanding.' Examine adjacent blue pieces and the word "blue" no longer seems adequate to describe either one. Paint manufacturers' color names add only a degree of precision. Gradually, the paintings' individual reality begins to outweigh all the available words, leaving perception as the work's content."