Lecia Dole-Recio’s new paintings are somewhat a departure from a body of work that has often made use of labyrinthine compositions and intricate layering. These previous works intimate Hofmann-esque “push-pull” spatial effects, while simultaneously negating them with their tactile materiality of cardboard, canvas, and paper. Yet a primary distinction between previous works and the new paintings is Dole-Recio’s heightened reductiveness, which further pronounces their surface qualities of work and residue. Dole-Recio subtly resounds her paintings on other levels of process, art history and politics, but it’s work and residue, inextricably two sides of the same coin, that stridently presents itself as a pivot in her development, a point that depends on two different modalities of work-time altogether.
While the verb “work” denotes a series of actions enacted upon objects to modify or to produce new ones, the residue of this process, except within the province of art, is often buried or discarded. The residue can contain byproducts of action, occluded gestures, leftover matter, scraps on the floor, but is the building blocks of process itself, regardless of its form. Matisse, famously criticized for not revealing his own residue (and for being perceived as an indolent genius), found himself documenting his studio process for the public in order to reveal the dense labor embedded within his practice. Dole-Recio’s paintings not only reveal the residue of work as an aesthetic virtue, but depends on its studio surplus: selections from piles of cut cardboard and paper, exposed to months if not years of paint splatters, shifted decisions, and exclusions are embedded within newly stained, canvas surfaces. The cardboard and paper, having been positive or negative templates for other paintings that may or may not have survived Dole-Recio’s discernment are intermixed with fresh materials, which in concert, are made into new compositions with relative diligence. These two modalities of work-time, one linear, the other without beginning or end, are essential to the dynamic activation of Dole-Recio’s compositional technique.
Dole-Recio’s strategies for activation are not without their influences, one of many being King Tubby, a Jamaican pioneer of studio-based dub reggae. Like the music of King Tubby, Dole-Recio’s paintings are dependent on the archives of multiple live “sessions”. Both cull multiple excerpts of these sessions, splice them together, and further alter them with various flourishes and effects. They both exploit the cursory and discarded efforts of previous sessions, denying their individual totalities to enable an overarching project. By nature of King Tubby’s analog equipment, the pops, crackles, and slips in continuity that results from this collaging are essential to the listening experience. Dole-Recio’s hands are in turn an analog to King Tubby’s machinery, feeding upon the physical sedimentation of time worked, always searching, rearranging, and plodding. This allows the seams within Dole-Recio’s work to remain starkly evident, her incisions to waver, and to license that her painted lines are hardly clean. They reveal the imperfect hand-brain interaction with time and material, at its most perfect and at its most poignant.
Read the NY TImes studio visit here