Pastine’s new series of oil paintings on paper were created during the first months of social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. The heightened visual intensity of these paintings speaks to the urgency of ensuing global conditions of the present moment along with her interests in bringing forth and locating luminosity from the depths of the color spectrum, a seemly antidote affording light and hope amidst adversity of worldwide upheaval. Painting on paper presented a new working methodology for Pastine through an intimacy in scale and immediacy in process.
Ruth Pastine’s minimalist color field paintings challenge phenomena of color perception and the relativity of color, light and space, emphasizing the viewer’s encounter with the work. Pastine’s paintings have an optical resonance and paradoxically draw from structural underpinnings. The artist’s long-held fascination with contradiction, the interplay of opposites, is explored through complementary color systems and underlying principles. Pastine’s paintings explore essential tensions that drive her work, the dialectic between the visceral and methodological, presence and absence, sensual and ethereal, materiality of surface and immateriality of light, and the finite and the limitless are fundamental throughout the course of her artistic trajectory.