Robert Boyd reviews the exhibition HJ Bott: Rhythm & Rhetoric at Anya Tish Gallery, Houston, TX, on view through June 9, 2012.
Boyd writes: " 'Displacement of Volume' or DoV is a geometric form that has been appearing in Bott's paintings and sculptural objects since 1972… beyond whatever meaning that DoV has for Bott, it is interesting that he has created such a rich body of works out of it. DoV is a constraint on Bott. He has chosen to limit himself to working with a single shape over and over again. Or to put it another way, he has turned his back on total freedom, the birthright of any painter since about 1900… the answer is that a constraint can be an immense boon to creativity… Bott is taking a constraint, the DoV, that on the face of it is inherently limiting, and uses it as a means of increased expression. So a painting like Hip Hop Core radiates a relative calm compared to the jittery Fluer de Enclume, where the near symmetry makes the work feel like it should be perfectly balanced–except that it isn't."