For almost 20 years, Anthony Vasquez worked within the genre of figurative painting as his primary medium to deal with his understanding of the human condition. Then 2020 happened, and with it came a sense of uncertainty and dysregulation. Vasquez was searching for some sense of control, struggling to find the narrative or figuration that could satisfy all that needed to be said. He drastically turned his ambition towards investigating multiple interpretations of lightness, asking the question, “How important is it to create uplifting work during times of unrest and struggle?”
Through working with a new medium, play became the creative impetus towards engaging with the broader term of lightness. Exploring the subtle and soft glow of reflection and the hard, vibrant colors of light that are contrasted with the natural forms of wood, Vasquez created something entirely new. He developed a body of work that carries a sense of lightness, pulling from the past a tryptic of inspirations starting with the working class skills in construction and building he learned from his father and grandfathers, the awe-inspiring skylines of the Southwest region where he grew up in the United States, and the works of three specific contemporary artists. Richard Serra’s connection of material to his father’s trade, James Turrell and his open sky spaces, and the colorful curvilinear compositions of Frank Stella have become important elements that inform Vasquez’s new work.
Despite the 3-dimensionality of the work, the artist wants these objects to be viewed within the traditional format of rectangular paintings. Strong geometric forms combined with color invite multiple viewpoints. However, the space between the forms is not forgotten, but rather infused with contemplative melodies of light. One of the goals during the creative process is to maintain the integrity of the material. Emplacing color into small cuts or slightly bending curves, the artist’s intention is not to use wood, but rather to create a balance between the natural state of the material and color.
The surface of the wood is then seen as its own skin, an integral element that is equally considered in the creative process. Additionally, during the construction of each object, the intention is to discover the range and capacity of the material without losing its form. Grounded in a rich heritage of building and constructing, Vasquez will continue exploring the intersection of these traditions and contemporary art.