Heroes and Myths
The Dynamic Paintings of Ron Gorchov
Ron Gorchov has painted on shaped canvases for over fifty years and exploring the limitations of the standard visual plane has become a cornerstone of his work. First executed in 1967 as a response to Abstract Expressionism as defined by Clement Greenberg, Gorchov’s shaped canvases occupy another dimension, straddling notions of traditional painting and minimalist ideas. His shield-shaped works draw associations with the ancient world both in their physical form and in their titling. Evoking the heroic, they are dynamic and muscular, flexing away from the wall to occupy another space and time.
The sound of the word, the story, and the image have to, in some way, resonate for me. But I do believe the title shouldn’t be descriptive. I think it can give the painting another dimension that isn’t material. I feel it. And also, I want to be able to remember these paintings when I do them. So the titles help me remember. And it forces me to read a lot, to keep up with stories, to have stories in mind that I can use.
Let heaven and earth and air stand in their wonted places / let the stars pursue their unobstructed courses / let a peace profound refresh the nations: let swords be sheathed / let no tempestuous storms disturb the sea / no fire leap forth from angry Jove / no river swollen with wintry snow lay waste the deluged fields / may poisons cease / may no weed grow with noxious sap / may no unjust and cruel tyrant reign. If Earth will sometime bring forth a monster, may it hasten; and if any is preparing, be it mine.
Hercules Furens, Lucius Annaeus Seneca, c. 1344