In her artist statement, “Occlude, Penetrate, Resolve: Paint in Relation to the Body,” the Santa Fe artist Blair Vaughn-Gruler likens the act of painting to creating an epidermal layer of skin that is designed to heal a Wound: as she specifies it, the Wound is that inflicted upon us by Modernity, in which a crisis of meaning of signifiers that have come unglued from their signifieds has resulted.
I think the art of Blair Vaughn-Gruler can best be approached from the standpoint of its evolution over time as she seeks, through the process of epidermal layering, to find new signifiers to occupy the semiotic vacancies left behind by the Dark Age of postmodernity.
To begin with her paintings from 2012, Blair Vaughn-Gruler’s surface of inscription is that, perhaps, of an old abandoned city wall upon which, after a Dark Age, an obscure memory of some formal vocabulary still exists–an echo of Euclid’s Elements, let’s say–and which is scrawled crudely upon the surface as rectangular boxes:
Or, as in Climbing Tower of 2011, in which the memory of the vertical-axial arche-form begins to resurface as a quest for depth:
In the 2012 painting Aperiodic Tesselations, a new epidermal surface begins to emerge into the Clearing which she is creating, in the form of tiny raised-relief rectangles that now begin to compose the form language of the Vocabulary she is searching for:
With Geometry Angel of 2012, the geometric forms now begin to burn and glow with a faint self-luminous aura that indicates their numinosity as forms glowing out of the dim recesses of collective memory:
And in Architectural Geometry II, the Euclidean graffiti shapes begin to resolve themselves into the possibility for the formation of houses and rectangles that could be reinhabited by this human Remnant:
In 2013, the epidermal surface of inscription explodes into a series of rectangular units in raised relief, reiterated across a topological infinity, as in Shingle Painting 45:
The semiotic vacancies of the Dark Age after Modernity are now being filled in with a new form language of discrete iterations of abstract modularity, floating in hyperspace, as in Diablo, which suggests the view of a complex city from satellized orbit:
By 2015, the solution to the problem posed by her post-metaphysical semiotic vacancies is in process of resolving itself. The squares become organized, not random, and form a complex topology of striated space, as in Compulsion:
Soon, a post-metaphysical rhizome begins to unfold that integrates all the elements into a complex form language of geometric micro-conversations as dense and complex as an Islamic arabesque:
And the rhizome that emerges is a symbiosis of forms creating a carpet of interwoven geometries that have now been remembered, recaptured and interleaved to form a higher, more fractally complicated geometry that exists on a plane of consistency beyond the ancient, dying Euclidean plane of organization:
By 2017, a new space has opened up and dropped downward into the Infinite, a sort of visual equivalent of a Cantorian mathematical infinity as layer upon layer of geometric iteration builds one atop the next:
By 2018, these paintings have become worlds unto themselves, each one a microcosm of complexity and fractal energy with its own form world, its own figurative vocabulary and its own internal rhizomatic metaphysic:
In short, the art of Blair Vaughn-Gruler is that of a contemporary master whose work you cannot afford to overlook and which is currently available in Santa Fe at the GVG gallery.
Blair Vaughn-Gruler’s website: http://blairvaughngruler.com/