The Restful Sameness of Niele Toroni

Niele Toroni

There is a restful sameness to all of Niele Toroni’s work. You can see some of it on display this month at the Marian Goodman Gallery. | Image: Mariken Bakkers via Flickr CC.

There is a restful sameness to all of Niele Toroni’s work, all of it in a style he pioneered and named travaux/pientures. Each painting, be it on stark white canvas or old, yellowed newsprint, is a careful study of the nature of paint and surface, almost scientific in its precision. His signature method, repeated over and over, is imprints of a no. 50 paintbrush in painstakingly measured intervals of 30cm.

He’s been painting those imprints for nearly 50 years, since the process’s debut at a performance exhibition in the Salon de la Jeune Pienture, Musee d’Art Moderne in Paris. And now it’s on display at the Marian Goodman Gallery in Midtown, New York City through July 30th.

It’s art that truly merits stepping close to examine. Despite the almost pixel-like sameness to each nearly-square brush imprint, each mark is distinct and different. They speak of deliberateness, almost over-crafted for what they are. And the measurements do not ever vary, though the surface on which they are painted does. French newspapers, whitewashed canvases, the very walls of the gallery. Whatever the surface, the careful, determined march of the brush imprints goes on unchanged in bold blue, black, yellow, or white.

Along with the gallery show, the Marian Goodman is presenting a solo survey of Toroni’s artistic history, close to fifty years of work. It’s a real treat to get to view that broad a cross-section of an artist’s working life. An invested viewer is able to trace each learning curve, spot the inflow of new inspiration and in essence read the artist’s life in his body of art.

Toroni’s work will be on display until July 30 2015. The Marian Goodman Gallery is located at 24 West 57th Street, New York, NY. Their summer hours are Monday – Friday, 10am – 6pm, and admission is free.

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