At first glance, Logan Grider’s handsome, abstract pieces look like works painted in the early 20th century. His burnished colors and cunningly fit-together shapes, which sometimes seem architectural and other times organic, imply kinships with Arthur Dove, Stuart Davis, Jasper Johns, and even the Indian Space painters. What a revelation to find that the deft explorations of hue and form in this show were the work of an artist born in 1980. In Grider, those old fascinations with shape, color, and texture live on.
Much of the appeal of his work comes from the surfaces he creates, working as he does with encaustic, also known as hot-wax painting. In Grider’s hands, the pigmented wax, applied to square boards, suggests the solidity of fresco and the grittiness of the natural world. One painting, Untitled (2014), filled with sharp angles and blocks of greens, mustards, purples, and grays, resembles a built environment of stuccoed shapes. Another, JHD (2012), based on heavy, more rounded forms, conjures a still life of potatoes, coconuts, or mangoes. Self (2012), a study in umbers, oranges, salmons, and greens, manages to evoke human warmth without alluding to the human form.
In a half dozen small watercolors, Grider explored similar ideas in miniature, the transparent medium offering air and light where encaustic delivered heft and weight. Whether wrought in water or in wax, all the works in this good-looking show were celebrations of nature and the physical substances of this world.
A version of this story originally appeared in the Summer 2014 issue of ARTnews on page 99.