There is a compelling battle between form and surface in Christopher Stout’s abstract, minimal sculptural paintings in his current exhibition “Come Out 2 Show Them” at Lichtundfire. Circular forms and rectangles are the predominant shapes of these hybrid works, whose three-dimensionality make them have a substantial presence. His commitment to his materials of plaster, resin, oil pigment, and in some instances the addition of plexiglass seems to be his badge of honor in our digital era. In fact, they could be thought of as artifacts from a long-last culture, heightened in some cases by the plexiglass “veil,” as the artist refers to the clear encasement altering our view in works like ecdysis (casting off of) 1, 2017.
Hanging on top of walls painted with narrow bands of either salmon or gray hues, the work’s minimal color is significantly altered depending on these contrasting backgrounds. In To do those things which are not convenient 1, 2015, for example, the marble-like striations of beige, gray and white come into sharp focus on the salmon background. Andrognyny 2, 2017, whose nine circles from plaster molds mounted on linen on panel resembles a primitive Lego or an ancient architectural remnant and which is hung on the gray stripe, emits a colder, almost clinical aura. The coloration of the works overall recall Antoni Tàpies palette of earthtones, and embodies the idea that imperfection should be celebrated rather than resisted. Stout’s use of molded plaster forms, weathered by additional media, stands in sharp contrast to contemporary architecture, whose goals seem to be straight lines, perfect curves and a pristine surface.
Christopher Stout, “Come Out 2 Show Them” at Lichtundfire, New York, April 22—May 26, 2017.