Rudolf De Crignis
Peter Blum Gallery 

Rudolf De Crignis's staunchly minimalist canvases are potently confounding yet compelling. 
Working with what seems to be highly limited palette - mostly blues, particularly 
ultramarine, some of which he calls gray - De Crignis generates his hues by applying many 
layers of a variety of semitransparent colors. This conglomeration produces a scintillating 
rather than flat presence - an effect that is less evident in the artist's earlier 
monochromatic paintings and here made the viewer a more active participant.
These were visually satisfying works. Perhaps that was because of the reassuring shape 
of the paintings - all squares, and squares are harmonious shapes. When the four blues, 
at 60 by 60 inches, and the six grays, each about 30 by 30 inches with slight variations, 
are installed close together, they encourage close perusal; we home in on the tiny 
differences and engage the paintings with unexpected intensity. Maybe the pleasure 
lay in understanding the rational gridlike understructure, created by the invisible 
crosshatched brushstrokes, keeping the surface taut while dynamic.
Although De Crignis would rather think of his paintings as individual units, they work 
brilliantly in installations, where they can have a performative aspect. The almost 
imperceptibly different - toned gray paintings were lined up along the right wall, 
while on the left were blues, which continued partway along the back wall, leaving 
a dramatic, asymmetrical empty space.
De Crignis's past informed this show. He began his training in Switzerland, studying 
film, video and performance art, as well as graphic design. In this show, we saw the 
kind of light and depth experienced in video and film, transformed into solid materials. 
And there was also the solid surface of graphic design but stripped of content and 
message. Instead of conveying constrained emotion, as Robert Ryman does, De Crignis 
offers reflective surfaces and empty depths.

Barbara A. MacAdams