Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Standing in the center of Logan Grider’s current exhibition at List Gallery, one is struck not by the similarities uniting his recent paintings, but by the incredible interplay of colors on the individual canvases. Each color scheme is unique and unexpected; rhythmic in its abrupt transitions. Grider’s painting techniques allow the viewer to see the interaction between artist and medium – the top layer of paint often gives way to colors beneath it, visible brushstrokes, and a buildup of paint. This interaction of bold, uniform planes of color allows for exciting and energized connections between the viewer and the painting.
Grider, who is currently an Assistant Professor of Studio Art here at Swarthmore, has said that he is “intrigued by the potential of abstraction to encourage the viewer to be an active participant rather than a passive receiver.” To encourage this interaction, his paintings are full of subtle, half-realized forms, which emerge from the planes of color. He uses shapes to create a three-dimensionality that is then sharply interrupted by other emerging forms. Because of this, the viewer is forced to complete the image mentally, creating his or her own perspective on the objects and thus directly interacting with the forms.
Grider’s works in this exhibit are all in encaustic, a medium created when pure pigment is mixed with beeswax. Andrea Packard, director of the List Gallery, says that this allows the surface of the painting to be “both painted and fused through a process that combines drawn, brushed, and blended areas of color.” In her words, “The resulting works dance between density and luminosity, stasis and flux.”
The encaustic pieces are almost all of a uniform size, with the height varying from 22-32 inches and the width from 24-34 inches. This small format creates an intimacy with the viewer. “For the size of the canvas, there is a lot of excitement, and the colors and forms are able to draw the audience in,” says Lucy Whitacre ’14, an attendant at the List Gallery.
Grider received a B.F.A from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an M.F.A in painting from Yale University. He has garnered numerous awards and honors, including the Skowhegan Fellowship and a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation nomination, and he has been reviewed in numerous journals and newspapers including Artforum and The New York Times. He has been an Assistant Professor of Studio Art at Swarthmore since Fall 2009.
To view Logan Grider: Recent Work, stop by the List Gallery between now and Tuesday, February 21st. Further information about the artist is available at LoganGrider.net.