Lucas Blok

S E L E C T    R E V I E W S



Washington DC AIA Installation

"Paintings by Lucas Blok"
by Louis Jacobson, Washington City Paper, 2001
"Lucas Blok puts some Pop in Op Art. Blok, a painter who lives in Carmel, Calif., carefully applies acrylic paint to paper and canvas in distinctive, rectangular-shaped patterns of pure color. But, although Blok's works structurally echo that of proto-minimalists such as Joseph Albers, Ad Reinhardt, and Mark Rothko, his color scheme leaves the muted blacks, greens, and purples in the dust. Instead, Blok's palette is straight out of the swinging 60's: hot pinks, lily-pad greens, and carrot oranges. Many of these colors meet at ruler-straight borders, as Albers' and Reinhardt's did. But Blok adds a twist - his most interesting color fields end in feathered borders, some of them having the tremulous appearance of a vibrating piano string. Absorbing Blok's work isn't easy - the colors set your eyeballs ablaze, and some of the canvases all but swallow you up (the biggest is 5-and-a-half feet by 16-and-a-half feet). Although the artist, in his statement, declares that 'I avoid symbolism in my work', it's hard not to read some of his paintings as architectural forms, particularly given the fact that the exhibition is being mounted at the American Institute of Architects' headquarters. Indeed, one untitled piece from 2000 features two identical rectangles that, sadly, look arrestingly like the former twin towers of the World Trade Center."*

*Lucas Blok's exhibit at the AIA headquarters in Washington D.C. opened on September 14, 2001.


"Inspiring Links Between Art and Science"

by David Pagel - Los Angeles Times, Friday, August 18, 2000
"Look Closer Again: To see Lucas Blok's geometric abstractions, you have to shift gears. At first, these crisp, graphic abstractions at SPF:a Gallery seem to move at warp speed. It only takes a split second for you to take in their often symmetrical arrangements of lime green, electric yellow and sizzling magenta rectangles set with larger rectangles of cool aqua, hot pink and deep purple. But then curious things begin to happen. The optical buzz takes place when your eye glides from one colored rectangle to another stops generating the visual turbulence typical of much Op Art and hard-edged abstraction. By the time you realize that nearly half of Blok's rectangles have soft edges—as if they've been sprayed with airbrush—you're no longer scanning the his large, sometimes mural-size works in the manner of street signs. Immediate legibility gives way to slow-motion scrutiny. Blok's best paintings are neither the simplest nor the most complex but those that balance a limited number of shapes against a similarly restricted slice of the spectrum. One uses reds, blues and purples to set up a surprisingly expansive arrangement of thin vertical bars. A louder, more gregarious canvas pits a range of olive greens and bright yellows against one-another by laying out horizontal elements within vertical ones. At once crisp and supple, Blok's uncanny abstractions combine the concentric structure of Albers' color studies with the wacky palette of Karl Benjamin's groovy paintings and the stimulating serenity of John McLaughlin's off balanced canvasses. Peter Halley's Day-Glo pictures of stylized cells also figure into the mix, confirming that Blok's seemingly straightforward paintings are filled with more twists and turns than immediately meets the eye."

"The Persistence of Color: Eye-burning exhibit at Monterey Museum of Art throbs with intense colors."
By Chuck Thurman - Monterey County Weekly, July, 1999
"...Razor-edged tangerine rectangles thrust upwards inside a sky-blue shape with airbrushed soft rounded edges. The blue itself is on a yellow background (not just any yellow – yellow the color of urine the morning after you've swallowed a couple of 'Stress Tabs'). And as your eyes are being jack-hammered between the yellow and tangerine and blue, all of a sudden you notice the small orange bars floating like an exclamation point – or a harmonic grace note – above the blue.  
Then, about the time your eyes are burned out, you realize there's another whole level to the painting. You start discovering shapes within the shapes, painted such a subtly different shade that you almost have to stick your nose on the painting to verify that your eyes are making it all up. The more you stare, the more you realize that what originally looked static is tearing around in the frame and taking you with it: It's a Dionysian revel dressed up in Apollonian duds."  
"...Words cannot adequately express the 'chapel', a room with many walls, each painted a different color. It's not an exhibit you look at; it's an exhibit you experience."  
"You enter via an antechamber in warming colors of yellow and orange. The room itself bursts into flame (anger? passion? womb? sunrise?) with intense red and tangerine walls. But at the far end of the room, beckoning is a green altar strewn with red and orange flowers and petals. One is sucked through a blue portal toward the altar, going through a maze of intense purples, violets, reds, oranges, blues – each color impacting the others, each color impacting the viewer."  
"'The Persistence of Color' is truly a fascinating exhibit, and it's one that the Monterey Museum of Art should be commended for showing."  

"Art Scene - Optician"
by Rick Deragon - The Monterey peninsula Herald, May 8, 1992
"... Lucas Blok has developed a series of concerns that differ significantly from other artists around the Peninsula. He attempts to do with color what musicians do with sound, that is, control the color relationships so that the viewer "delves" into the painting, the way a listener digests chordal and harmonic relationships in music as it is played. The more the viewer looks, the more the painting 'happens'."  

"Understated Emotion, Sophisticated Professionalism – Blok Paintings Integrated with 'Gallery'" by Irene Lagorio - The Monterey Peninsula Herald, May 30, 1982
"Carmel artist Lucas Blok's exhibition of six mural size paintings in the Monterey Conference Center's Alvarado Lobby "gallery" is so well integrated with the center's interior architecture that this writer frankly feels the exhibition should be extended, or better yet, made a permanent feature of the lobby area."