Warren Isensee’s drawings offer luminous, optically charged color within the structure of geometric abstraction.I have always worked to capture the qualities of both color and light that have throughout history activated the surface of paintings The goal … is to capture light and contain it in a kind of perpetual motion field that, when married to color, gently pulsates, recedes and advances (1)
The drawings offer an insight into the artist’s process, many acting as studies for his larger canvases. These diminuativecolored pencil drawings are like the works of a medieval or Indian manuscript illuminator. Mr. Isensee's works relate to those of semioticians like Peter Halley and Jonathan Lasker, but they may be spiritually closer to the paintings of James Siena, who also knowingly manipulates obsolete elements of Modernist style while delivering objects of almost hallucinogenic visual intensity. (2)
Isensee’s 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. (3) One senses an artist almost at play, delighting in color and line cleverly marshaled, while at the same time engaging modernist conventions. (4)
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.
(1) Artist’s statement.
(2) Johnson, Ken. “Art in Review,” The New York Times, January 20, 2006.
(3) Huntington, Richard. The Buffalo News. November 24, 2006.
(4) Taylor, Alex. Artnews. April 2008.