CONSTRUCTS & MONOTYPES
by Gary Gach
These particular works derive less from portraiture or landscape so much as from abstraction - diagonal, rhombus, pyramid, etc. The secret is that Peter Foley conveys his feeling for them, as particular tactics, lovely devices, elegant tools, and allows them their capability of unique combinations and new results. Which is to say, abstraction has not here eliminated shapes in space. And, so, a zigzag can be representational.
In the monotypes herein, such formalistic (and hence abstract) ingredients as line, plane, zigzag, striation, etc. can take on descriptive stances, evoking spatial explorations. These nonfigurative etudes still retain a clear sense of background, middleground, foreground, and thus imprint the artist's choices as of a performance's documentation, of an imagination in motion: this line then that, and then a squiggle here. Without reference to literal horizons, they yet call forth sturdy and elegant visual situations, improbable yet taking place. A pyramid can simultaneously evoke a path ending, or beginning, in mid-air and accumulating interest along the way. Idiosyncratic improvisations upon basics of form. From these monotypes, it's only one more giant step to the constructs.
While the monotypes evoke depth - bright whites and various grays against thin, rich blacks - the constructs curiously retain an insistent flatness. They are no less evocative of creative possibility: in his constructs, Foley again documents imagination, in ways that are not rigidly limiting but rather expansively liberating.
Within the stage-set, or field, of their frames, Foley inscribes grids, spotlighting neglected graphic components such as pure texture, and primary shape, in and of themselves. And these seeming grid-lines, dividing a dynamic rectangle into square and gnomon and variously noodling around within the frame, aren't literally drawing, but are actual objects, figures.
The monotypes and constructs organize around an empty center - but by fencelines and diagonals, by inventive devices and seeming indirection, they find direction out. But, to either side, or above, of the viewer's eye in the constructs are more literal objects, (icon, book, found object, etc.). The actual objects can be outside and above, as well as inside and within the literal frame, simultaneously philosophic commentary and aesthetic fetishism of endless inspiration is the relative but irreplaceable primacy of artifact