Review of George Rush's Middle Age (Part 1)

October 12, 2018
George Rush, Lost, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 30 x 40"

George Rush’s paintings have always lived in the space between agitation and total stillness. For example, the series “Rooms with Windows,” 2014, and “Walls, Windows, Rooms, People,” 2017, position static, washed-out subjects in front of or interwoven with hallucinogenic, textured color. The results, as much about the history of modernist architecture as they are about class, social alienation, and contemporary lifestyle, are consistently nuanced and psychologically affective.

On view at Appendix, a compact gallery which opened earlier this year and is run by the artist Ryland Wharton, is “Middle Age (Part 1),” a departure for the artist. As with past works, Rush paints in dense and opaque fields of color, positioning his figures (when they appear) as inactive agents. But there are meaningful divides: Rush, who has spent years painting the boundary between inside and outside, has left the building. These paintings—Kahoots, Tennis, Lost, and Brighton Road (all works 2018)—are derived from cell phone photographs made during walks through his neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio. Depicting a flier for a missing parrot; a billboard advertising a strip club; children in an inflatable tennis stadium; and a neighbor’s house by streetlight, they project a sense of quiet foreboding. More than a treatise on technological reproduction, these works are a meditation on the visual rhythms of suburbia. Though Rush has moved away from painting domestic spaces, this tight selection of work has everything to do with the interior, for all its privacy, emptiness, and want.