Kevin Appel makes semi-abstract paintings that invoke architectural fragments and stylized scraps of trees and plants. He implies the presence of idealized Modernist buildings through translucent stripes, squares and rectangles in sterile off-white hues, or depicting wood veneer, often rendered perfectly, as if by machine, without any trace of a brushmark. The use of obvious clichéd ‘serious painter’ techniques such masking tape-created edges – and the pointed insertion of blocks of gestural brushwork amongst the slickly perfect geometrics – belies the fact that Appel is playing with the history of Modernist art and design. The fact that his paintings depict the uneasy relationship between architecture and nature in a humorously caricatured manner shows that he’s not an entirely devout follower of Mies van der Rohe et al, he uses his position as someone too young to have witnessed the Modernist heyday first-hand to take a suitably contemporary ironic look at the whole thing.
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