Warren Isensee’s new paintings and drawings continue to offer luminous, emotionally and optically charged color within the structure of geometric abstraction. However, the new format is less tectonic; the former dense, fully colored surfaces now yield to an airy, freer figure-ground relationship. In Out of Nowhere, a large terracotta plane coalesces around an insignia – an inner rectangle of hash-marked squares in black, gray and cream; while the grids in Soft Target and XO are made up of undulating, rather than straight lines, giving the works a more eccentric, organic appearance.
The new works further demonstrate Isensee’s ongoing commitment to color and reductivist abstraction. I have always worked to capture the qualities of both color and light that have throughout history activated the surface of paintings… I am exploring how oil on canvas can tap into the rich resonance of luminosity or "glow"…. The goal for each painting is to capture light and contain it in a kind of perpetual motion field that, when married to color, gently pulsates, recedes and advances.
Rendered with an unerring and precise hand, and eschewing the use of tape, Isensee’s work manages to avoid the anonymous, impersonal appearance often associated with hardedge painting. His unexpected juxtapositions of vibrant color are visually intense. This is earnest work without a whiff of cynicism... Much of its pleasure comes from the vital flush of optimism. One senses an artist almost at play, delighting in color and line cleverly marshaled, while at the same time engaging modernist conventions.
Born in Asheville, North Carolina in 1956, Isensee studied architecture at the University of Oklahoma and subsequently majored in painting and graphic design. Isensee was included in the 2007 American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Invitational Exhibition of Visual Arts and received a Purchase Award. He received the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant in 1999 and has exhibited extensively in the United States. His work is included in the collections of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, the Jack S. Blanton Museum, Austin, TX and the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, NY, among others. Isensee lives and works in New York City.