Finger Painting, Joseph Pentheroudakis’s new exhibition, is comprised of limited edition digital drawings – a departure from his modern, minimalistic line-based pencil and pen drawings. This new work is more colorful, smaller, but no less engaging. It represents, as he says, “my take on the tension between order and disorder, between predictability and spontaneity.” Drawing with digital media allows a varied vocabulary of lines, shapes, color, value, and an array of different marks. “Each drawing begins life with near-infinite possibilities, which are then gradually winnowed down by the emerging image. This show documents that process and its outcome.”
One piece in particular, entitled Piano Jazz, vividly references both the piano keys as well as line work, lovely scribbles, that make me think of written compositions noted quickly in black ink. The angular shapes amidst rounded ones are jazz music itself, with all its varied cadences and improvisations. Encrypted features black and white horizontal lines that are a nod to handwriting but are unreadable. There is definitely a link to his theoretical linguistics background – form is content, and languages abound.
Whether drawing by hand, his formal seriality, or more spontaneously with a computer, Pentheroudakis remains influenced by the work of Agnes Martin, Gego (Gertrude Goldschmidt), Brice Marden – but also Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky. He returns to those sources as he explores the many pathways between beauty, thought, and art.