Speed #7 by Gibbs Rounsavall
Speed by Gibbs Rounsavall
Review by Keith Waits
Entire contents copyright © 2015 by Keith Waits. All rights reserved.
Gibbs Rounsavall makes round paintings. He has been doing this for some time, but in a new exhibit at Revelry Boutique & Gallery, he reveals new insight into his approach, allowing a peek behind the curtain into his process.
Such a rigid restriction on format would seem to be limiting and repetitive, but repetition is a frequent and common enough currency in art. As for limitations, although on the surface Rounsavall’s work embraces redundancy, the degree of variation in this new body of work is astonishing.
This is true in part because of the artist’s sophisticated and highly developed understanding of color. In “Speed #3”, Rounsavall builds such a subtle transition of hues from yellow through green to blue that a tangible illusion of radiant movement registers in the eye. In fact, the layout of the exhibit seems designed to emphasize the intensity of this dynamic, with three such pieces facing the viewer on the far wall when you enter the space. The deliberate dissonance of a few of the pieces is slightly unnerving and forces the eye to the more comforting but no less compelling work on the other walls for relief.
These other pieces are smaller, and include some miniature studies on paper and a group of images that depart from the rigidity of the circle. In a series called “Sonic #1-#4”, Rounsavall deconstructs his circles, fragmenting their lines as one would untie a knot, but then bisecting the forms again into new configurations. The viewer may ponder whether this is a new direction or a glimpse into a long-held process, but juxtaposed next to this body of work, they are on some level a powerful violation of the artist’s formalism. Yet they also forge a connection to a Shelby Park mural that Rounsavall recently completed, and which is represented by an informational piece at the “end” of this exhibit, pointing us outside of the gallery to the most important example of this thread in the artist’s work.
All the more remarkable is that Rounsavall uses one-shot sign paint to create his compositions, which reinforces the meticulous and almost mathematical quality of the work. The enamel medium lends the surface a hard-baked sheen suggestive of a metal finish, but it cannot mask the touch of the artist’s hand discernible beneath. Whatever calculations Rounsavall employs in mapping out the concentric circles of his compositions, the carefully crafted application of the paint never loses the evidence of a painter at work.
Speed by Gibbs Rounsavall
November 7– December 2, 2015
Revelry Boutique Gallery
742 East Market Street
Louisville, KY 40202
Keith Waits is a native of Louisville who works at Louisville Visual Art during the days, including being one of the hosts of PUBLIC on ARTxFM, but spends most of his evenings indulging his taste for theatre, music and visual arts. His work has appeared in Pure Uncut Candy, TheatreLouisville, and Louisville Mojo. He is now Managing Editor for Arts-Louisville.com.