Patricia Treib’s Paintings Are Abstract, But Rooted in the World of Objects
In Brooklyn-based painter Patricia Treib’s expansive abstract canvases, frothy pastels and opulent jewel tones abut daring and clever interventions of palette — a sudden wash of matte elephant gray against a translucent seafoam green, or a block of deep mahogany propping up a pale blue stain. Her paintings are a pleasure to take in, with a healthy dose of art history and a deep interest in the world of material objects as well as the physical properties of paint.
Treib’s deceptively simple canvases belie a rigorous process, just as a prima ballerina’s grueling preparation is hidden in her effortless stage appearance. Each painting begins with a sketch, which Treib sees as a script or a score that she feels free to improvise upon in multiple ways during what she calls rehearsals. Muscle memory absorbs the calligraphic motions she will enact to create the final canvas. Treib has a professed admiration for Chinese ink painting, and the manner in which a master will train for decades before completing a quick, fluent stroke, imbued with years of study and practice.
Treib’s gestural works reference our world of objects. Like Ellsworth Kelly’s minimal paintings of simple but suggestive shapes, they are meant to capture the essence of the painted subject or object. Her evocative shapes sometimes fit together and at times float next to one another. Treib is not only interested in the objects themselves, but in how they relate to each other, and the unique spaces between the objects. Her use of color is practiced and studied, and not unlike the bright and varied hues of the Impressionists. Pierre Bonnard’s brilliant yellows make a frequent appearance, as do Renoir’s dark, moody blues. Her handling of paint is resolute and assured, though light and washy. Treib often paints the mundane objects with which we surround ourselves, in particular, clothes, clocks and watches. Perhaps her true subject is the fleeting passage of time, as told in our timepieces and our outfits of the day.
Images courtesy of Bureau Gallery