Mina Totino | Untitled (black and green)
- Mina Totino
- Oil on canvas
- 8 x 10 in.
It is the case in layered pieces of meanings, that entering from the side would render more intelligible than the understanding coming from the center; the human, man made center of comprehension. Mina Totino’s recent paintings make the frames/borders/margins the entrance into constructions with no emergency exit; no boundary that when crossed would contextualize the lived. No way to instrumentalize detective perceptions. Trying to locate/speak of what is happening just in the front of each painting, Totino has the surgical detective perception to describe them as “stronger from underneath”. This makes margins/borders much more porous. From the front and center the three paintings in the exhibition All Blue, September and October could be grabbed/categorized as gestural abstraction. Although Totino is precise in them not being either landscape, figuration or abstraction. An important code given by the artist to carry through the exhibition.
In All Blue, September and October viewing is made unstable, as the contrast between the front and the margins of paintings, created by the amount of layers–the painted edges of the depth of the canvas and the reflection of the this onto the wall, in different qualities of light bounces the eye and gives movement to the paintings. The paintings where done with a small brush, which makes the painting process more laborious and slower. Totino notes that in a layer, this is responding to the “male idea” of “big brush” and “big mark”. In a more circular or spiral than arrow forms.
One of the detective instruments could be played about the Mondrian like gesture of being in the edge and going over it, or of holding an uncanny resemblance to the tradition of color-field painting lead by Frankenthaler or as Totino herself explains about this series of paintings, that some of the measurements for the canvases where taken out of Ryman’s canvases. This doesn’t translate or give an entrance to meaning but border the inside. In the same manner the discontinuous gestures on September and October can be for a moment located as bordering the inside or the outside. In the former, the organic-like shapes border between layers and the three gestural marks are meeting the physical margin. The latter, where two similar gestural marks don’t have to both be in the physical border to be perceived as bordering, heavily due to the contrasting colors but also because of how the painting is applied.
The contrast of the small paintings, some with what Totino describes as “goofy frames”; create a similar fluid sense of instability putting the difference created in a symphonic/chaotic dialogue. Exchanging between them and with us. The layers in this case are not so much the amount of paint, but the propositions of coming into being. Any frame that Totino chooses would then further the effect that the painting is a proposition of being that is always a dialogue. As if the marks were made in a state of palpable acceleration or counter acceleration, as it relates and narrates a difference between more than one velocity, bordering the viewers own sense of movement, acting as a witness.