LOS ANGELES, CA.- Leslie Sacks Fine Art presents Shane Guffogg, on view through February 16, 2008. What do you say about a painter who seems to have synthesized the essential elements of Pollock, Rothko and Matisse? Well, if he doesnt get away with it, you might say that artist is overreaching. But, if he pulls it off you might well say the work is heroic. Shane Guffogg (a former assistant to Ed Ruscha) is indeed climbing Olympus. Guffogg is a mid-career artist with works in the permanent collections of the Armand Hammer Museum of Art, Duke University Museum of Art, Laguna Art Museum, Long Beach Museum of Art and the Weisman Foundation, among others.
Guffogg has both talent and technique, e.g. terrific color balance, an uncanny knack for conjuring up tantalizingly ambiguous pictorial spaces, and the deft handling required for making sexy surfaces. Secondly, while incorporating the essences of Pollock, Rothko and Matisse, the work is nonetheless unique. And thirdly, there is a vision: specifically, metaphysical content. Guffoggs canvases are portals that open into ethereal space. Or if one prefers a rationalist interpretation, it can be said that his paintings gently whack ones ordinary visual perception like a velvet axe handle right between the eyes.
But the work is really a seduction. Guffoggs canvases read like the Dance of the Seven Veils: layers of gauzy fabrics with lacy tracery that cant quite be stripped away by the eye. Behind these superimposed planes of pattern and color is a serpent of light, of the caduceus, a luminous helix of cosmic DNA or perhaps pure kundalini. In his essay, Matisse and the Metaphysics of Decoration, historian Jack Flam discusses the interaction between the various levels of materiality in Matisses painting and the interpenetration between the imaginary pictorial world of the cloth and the tangible world of real objects.  Likewise, Guffoggs canvases make a seductive world of illusive mysteries accessible to the eye.