Oranges are uniquely at home in the imagination. You can easily look past their surface texture and treat them simply as shapes, and they share their name, if not their very identity, with a color. There’s also their history as symbols of exotic luxury. In other words, they’re the perfect subject for “Mirror Grove,” the latest seminar in perception and design from the Brooklyn-based painter’s painter Graham Anderson.
In eight modestly scaled paintings with evocative titles like “Masks Without Owners” and “The Chimeric Mesh,” Anderson makes oranges look like hazy spotlights, paper cutouts, hovering planets, bouncy Art Deco ornaments, office-supply stickers, glowing buttons and elements of ancient Roman frescoes. He does all this with a combination of flat, saturated color, trompe l’oeil shadows and tiny, overlapping daubs of paint that split the difference between TV static and Ben-Day dots.
In “Advice From the Sun,” an enormous disc hangs like Pharaoh Akhenaten’s abstracted sun god between two gently rolling spheres. A smaller disc, nearby, is adorned with a sprig of schematic leaves. The fact that each of these planetlike orange circles is itself made up of tiny orange circles makes clear that the music of the spheres is also the music of atoms, and vice versa. But Anderson isn’t using his painting to illustrate this familiar, if always mind-boggling, truth. He’s using the truth to adorn his painting.