James Little - Informed by Rhythm
Informed by Rhythm - Recent Works by James Little
A marigold yellow smolders adjacent a column of cornflower blue. Eighteen-inch panels formed by V-shaped bands of coral, lavender and grey interrupt a sequence of one-inch stripes. Color drives all the compositions, dominates the ruthless logic of each and every form employed by the canvas. Utilizing a grid, the artist deconstructs the horizontal suggestion in the shape of the canvas with a procession of vertical patterns. The lines seem to have a pulse. Surfaces, oil paint thickened with beeswax, shimmer. Though the visual effects may be jazzy, the tempos irregular, make no mistake, James Little is in pursuit of a uniquely classical accomplishment.
Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Little received a BFA from the Memphis Academy of Art and then headed north to Syracuse University for his MFA. While in school there, he crossed paths with a number of art world luminaries – Clement Greenberg, Hilton Kramer and Sol Lewitt, among others. Thoughtful consideration as to the intentions and the history of art making were integral to Little’s education. His commitment to an understanding of the artwork of his predecessors has inspired his own disciplined formalism, “a formalism that has more to do with the rehabilitation of the medium and identifying what makes great painting great… Take painting and try to do something heroic and successful and ambitious.”
Little is currently based in New York but has been exhibited nationwide since the mid-1970s. His work is included in numerous important public and private collections such as The Menil Collection, The Newark Museum, The New Jersey State Museum and The Studio Museum of Harlem among others. This exhibition marks the artist’s initial presentation with the gallery.