The Legacy of Gideon – Venvi Art Gallery
By Deborah Desilets
Walking into the Venvi Gallery ala Gideon, one encounters art as mesmerizing color-fields that gleams from some enchanted light. Gideon’s visions in paintings and two sculpture offer a one-way transport to an ethereal journey through color. In his landscapes where whites on paler whites spring to life, or where gray ashes somberly lay in repose; or figures of trees soar, or crystal water becomes murky; and where crimson burns alongside the regal greens. With Gideon, all color and brushstroke make a sound with light. His colors, so embedded in brushstroke (whether small, large or x-large) spring from his unique gesso mixes and enliven his brushstroke. Colors are so ingrained in each touch of the brush, whether delicate or grand, that profound light is splayed, reflected and refracted. As well Gideon’s brushstrokes accent the lift of his brush. While walking through the world of Gideon, I constantly feel like a child with a magnifying glass needing to adjust my eye to ever new scales, his strokes release ascending, and descending and crescendos of penetrating emotion and motion in paint.
The combination of layer upon layer of GESSO EMBEDDED IN MORE GESSO TRANSFORMS THE FLAT CANVAS SURFACE INTO ANIMATED TWISTS AND TURNS. GIDEON’S ART IS PERPETUALLY MOVING.
The colors patterns or in a multiple brush stroked figure, where a line becomes more than a line, or planes of color no timid abstraction, or where the layers of paint are not timid but bold. Gideon’s lush paints inform even more luscious strokes in a medium that begs the question: what pot of paint does he paint from? Asking Heather Gideon, his wife about the medium, she shows me his mixer and quietly mentions his recipe-book for his paint. Surely he would make his own in 5 gallon vats! Gideon’s gesso medium performs exactly as made; pliable with an ordained resilience and reflectance. The magic of Gideon is held in his most gestured gesso expressions that seem capable of departing from the canvas as they literally extend into his gold rippled frames (That to my eye, mimic ruffles on a flamenco dancers’ skirts!) For “Seascape”, the rippling frame carries the beholder viewer on a remote voyage far from the canvas.
The color, consistency, weight, and wave of the gesso medium projects Gideon’s vision off the wall and onto the observers until they are mesmerized, – immersed, engulfed and surrounded. Both whites against off-whites to blacks tinged with crimson are deepened as the slight shadow is cast. The stroke and shadow become indelible unforgettable as the depth of color leave an indelible impression from all angles. Light, shadow, color, and stroke all emerge in an emotion of motion that pulsates from the canvas.
Walking into the world of Gideon I felt as if I was walking in a forest screened with the dappled light of leaves pressing the ground with textures that were lit but unknown save for the sun. His landscapes have no land in them at all, but the alluded to terra firma or cityscape becomes a bursting array of implied colorations as edges. His portraits are a study in subterfuge. His holocaust visions are of horror abstracted. The images constantly elude the eye as color, stroke, and shadow embed a deeper impression and beckon a deeper reckoning. Paint, color and texture survive in a frantic whirlwind of forms to reveal the playing field of this artist to one master stroke; his gesso. Self taught, immersed in the making of art for commercial endeavors, Gideon gives the impression of whirlwind action that rides from one canvas to the other with scale shifts and textures noted from one to the other, referential, scaled and always as enigmatic as the artists’ oeuvre.
Perhaps the sculptures in the show: one of bronze, one a gesso white mannequin, carries the use of line into a third dimension that begs the art lover to give futurism one more look. Gideon’s art refuses to be of as one-dimensional as just a simple gesso and brushstroke. His focus is always the same: move color into subconscious depths where light imprints with shadows.