A Transgenerational and Intercultural Look at Abstract Painting

Installation view of Color/Code at Morgan Presents gallery (all photos by the author)

A world steeped in abundant color and enticing designs, Color/Code at Morgan Presents embraces the mystery and expressive possibility of abstraction. Staging a visual dialogue between two artists of different generations — Sam Jablon and Odili Donald Odita — the exhibition is an invitation to ponder the chemistry between varied approaches to abstract painting. Largescale works are dispersed evenly throughout the white cube gallery with two on each side wall and one on a floating wall furthest from the entrance. From across the gallery, the painting facing the entrance is legible: “BAD BAD BAD” in yellow paint against a cloudy, midnight-blue-hued background. Evocation of such pessimism — BAD BAD BAD — is at first discombobulating in an exhibition replete with bold, happy colors. When exploring the other paintings, Color/Code becomes a riddle: There are no wall texts, but the QR-code-enabled press release includes a checklist. Deducing the artist of each painting is possible through recognizing each artist’s style or following the checklist like a scavenger hunt: the “BAD” textual paintings are by Jablon and the rainbow geometric designs are by Odita.

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