Reflective and discretely minimal in their vibrancy, Kevin Fey's paintings utilize the architecture of the space to activate a phenomenological experience of the work. Installed above and below eye level, leaning or perpendicular to another panel, or hung “straight” on the wall, the paintings disrupt traditional considerations to engage the viewer in a physical experience. Standing before a painting, one becomes keenly aware of the shifts that take place between the figure/ground relationships of the canvas to the wall, the first-person experience of the viewer to the painted object, and the conscious awareness of the person to their own physicality.
Fey’s ability to manipulate the relatively passive experience of sensory perception starts with a rectangular canvas, which he carefully paints with a single pour of fluid resin in a single color. He intervenes into the pristine, almost intangible surface with a rigorous handling of tape, sandpaper, and steel wool, turning the surface of each canvas into a field of alternating bands of flat and reflective color.
This results in a literal marring of foreground and background, further disrupting the relationship between the surface and the physical “objecthood” of the canvas. Yet, Fey’s activity also unionizes the physical with the cerebral. The sheen of epoxy reflects its light onto the opposite wall or an adjacent canvas, softly interposing the space with a double.
Positioned in a content-heavy culture of mass imagery, Fey’s paintings opt for the true aesthetic minimalist moment, revitalized through the subjectivity of color in space. Distilled but never static, it resists a fixed tonality of reds, soft greens, blues and purple. Instead, color becomes incidental, rendering abstraction as it’s own commanding agent. Rather than abstraction of object, place, or any visual content of externalized substance, these are paintings of abstraction itself—as color, as pour, as gesture.
Kevin Fey received his BFA from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art and lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. He has had solo exhibitions in New York City and has participated in a number of group exhibitions. Additionally, Fey has served as a guest lecturer at UCLA.