Bernar Venet: New Saturation Paintings

Math is an abstract art: the poise of its symbols, the rhythmic repetitions of the lines, and rise and fall of its exponents and roots. "Bernar Venet: New Saturation Paintings" is art that exalts the beauty of equations. But you don't have to be a genius to appreciate it. We're pretty sure that (x)[=z] P = [y=z](x) P is nothing but algebabble, but when it's celebrated in the site-specific installation "Saturation With Large Curve" — where the horizontal lines of such equations are traversed by arcs, sprinkled with radicals, and punctuated with asterisks — a person can overlook such trivial details as mathematical accuracy. Beginning in the '60s, the French artist showed an obsession with mathematical diagrams; it was only natural that he'd eventually get around to the formulas themselves. Like each of four paintings that accompany the installation (all created in 2008), Saturation With a W is created on a solid field of thick acrylic paint with brush strokes adding textural looseness to the formality of its mathematical abstraction. To the background, the artist stencils equations in layers, saturating the field with numbers and symbols whose color changes and size increases with each of its three layers. While the layers build, they never obliterate what is beneath. Visually, if not mathematically, the result is much like ballet — balanced, logical, and graceful. (Through July 26 at Eaton Fine Art, 435 Gardenia St., West Palm Beach. Call 561-833-4766.)
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Marya Summers