Ron Gorchov is a friend and mentor and his distinctive saddle shaped paintings have become iconic to us, symbolizing, in many ways, ideas we wish to draw from on Rabbit Island. His work has received much art world acclaim–several links to reviews and discussions are below–though what we like most about it is relatively basic: he produces beautiful and relevant art using simple means that have little externality.
We have been working on developing a set of “Island Rules”, a la the Food Rules, to explore conceptual lifestyle relationships that can stand in conflict with one another; creativity and waste, entertainment and excess, building and ruin, art and consumption, travel and energy, health and cost, etc. While this effort is very much a work in progress Ron’s paintings have inspired us with themes that will inform the list. Simplicity, relationship to form, and restraint will always be relevant across the board.
Form is the fundamental point of reference. We interpret the negative space around the two iconic shapes on Ron's canvases to suggest the human form in various poses or actions–the torso centrally and the upper limbs wrapping around above. While many concepts are subjective–entertainment, law, happiness, art–the form itself is a constant and a direct extension of the primitive. This is important to recognize. When one strays far from this measuring stick there is ever-increasing potential to impart significant unintended consequence on things around you.
Beauty is subjective and excess cannot increase it. Ron’s work does not need to be plugged-in, projected, or critical of the past or present in order to be relevant. It is as basic as the materials it is created from–which are only a few degrees from their source–yet it represents volumes with the way it is organized. When artists remove themselves from such simplicity and when their concepts and creations become a burden on society in absolute physical terms, things run afoul and generally in the wrong direction. More is not always better.
Change is not more appealing than consistency. The act of changing; renovating, updating, diversifying, traveling, etc., implies an associated act of consumption and/or externality. Ron’s consistence, in this sense, both in terms of practice as well as location, might be likened to concepts of notable permanence–a stone house not diminished by generations, a well-conceived stainless steel object resisting tarnish, an heirloom. Ron’s work will not likely go out of style, will never diminish the opportunity of another, and will never require remediation. It will fade in time but will not require active deconstruction.
Born in 1930 Ron has been making shaped canvases in New York since the 1960’s. His recent work is being shown until April 28th in New York at 547 w. 25th street between 10th and 11th. This show has certainly influenced Rabbit Island.