Article :

Michael Oruch: Paintings
David Simpson, 1994
Moving from a constructivist synthesis of technological and realist motifs densely packed into every painting, Oruch has become more and more interested in the potential of deep space. This space occupies the heart of his recent paintings; the margins are created out of an iconography and palette that are themselves marginal to most familiar definitions of American art history – the iconography and palette of Amish quilts, American Indian and African textiles, and Japanese domestic artifacts and architectural motifs. These paintings are objects of meditation and slow learning. What looks from a distance like flat space turns out to contain deeply layered colors applied with consciously textures brush strokes. Both color and texture work to create three dimensional arrays held back from incipient turbulence by the power of composition and contrast. The balance of movement and stability created in these paintings is definite but completely unmelodramatic, far removed from the high contract abstract expressionist precursors. The paintings are strikingly human, though no human figures appear in them; the appearance of everyday – but exotic – objects worked into structures of form and color always preserves a hint of what is familiar, and familiarly used. And there is a complex cultural education involved in elucidating those usages. Standing against the multicultural allusion of the post modern, Oruch proposes a multicultural essence – a serious, respectful and above all possible synthesis of things more commonly held to be inevitably separate. In this respect, his paintings become moral, and indeed political, by being beautiful.