Although jimmy hayward’s work is situated at the far end of the content spectrum from that of Williams, a similar sort of surface fetish activates it. Hayward’s new body of mostly monochromatic canvases was on view at Chac Mool Gallery on Melrose until very, very recently. (Sorry.) Painted squarely from the shoulder, the baroque, luscious gestural topography of Hayward’s networks of ultraimpasto brush strokes conveys a minimalist chromatic “suchness” more often associated with the flat, disengaging paintings of Brice Marden et al. But this seemingly contradictory visual complexity is not something that could ever be separated out — the depth and contemplative power of the color fields are inextricably melded with the substance of the paint. My favorite monochromes are the quartet of untitled palette-soup-gray canvases, but the baker’s dozen of small, multihued Chromochordpaintings in the office sully the purity of their larger brethren, to sweet effect.
If Hayward’s paintings represent the marriage of the transcendent physical aspects of pure color with the traces of the evanescent painterly gesticulation, the recent performance at Goldman Tevis by Joseph Hammer and Cindy Bernard took the ephemerality up a notch. To the warbling, hypnotic soundtrack of Solid Eye loop-man Hammer’s deftly manipulated fragments of tape (movie music, Gregorian chant, John Fahey–like guitar strums), a series of pure color slides were rear-projected onto a pair of screens, fading up and down and into one another, pausing, then starting again, in a new configuration. Although a La-Z-Boy and a marijuana cigarette would have been helpful, the effect was nevertheless calming and hallucinatory — producing optical effects you can usually only get staring at a Rothko for half an hour. Permanence is relative. It would be swell to have Bernard & Hammer’s piece in some hanging digital form, on the wall across from your La-Z-Boy, but that might defeat the artists’ intentions, and besides, the technology’s not quite there. In the meantime, this remains one of the unspoken and otherwise unavailable joys of visiting shows culled from the permanent collection — to be able to return to the same piece over and over, in a drawn-out rhythmical orgy of retinal exploration that belies the “Seen it, got it, next” pacing of most contemporary viewing experiences — and leaves your brain and eyeballs tingling with scopophilial pleasure.
A ROOM OF THEIR OWN, PART 1: From Rothko to Rauschenberg At MOCA, 250 S. Grand Ave. Up indefinitely