At first glance Roeth’s panels of painted slate and wood appear very simple: flat planes of colour that look a certain way, but which shift in the changing light or as you move around them. They are exquisitely painted in thin layers of tempera – skins of colour that build dense, velvety pigments that reveal their secrets slowly. Arranged in lines or grids or stacked in totems these colour combinations play gentle tricks on the eye - simultaneously drawing us into dense voids and then bouncing our gaze back with a vibrant intensity.
In this exhibition groups of slate roof tiles, sourced from a quarry in Maine, are arranged in multi-coloured, almost musical compositions of light, depth and colour.
“The qualities of the slate tiles — their regular size, jagged edges, and porous sedimentary layers — absorb the intensely hued tempera applied by the artist in multiple thin strata, integrating both in an uncanny new whole. Some segments come alive with reflected light, while others absorb almost all light save a deep, barely-discernable hue. Understanding the work requires movement from the viewer, and the effort pays off as new color relationships reveal themselves under prolonged examination, but in defiance of literal translation." - Steven Evans (former curator at Dia: Beacon, and now the director of the Linda Pace Foundation, San Antonio).
Roeth, who is based in Beacon, New York State, has been described as “…probably the best color painter in New York” by American critic Michael Brennan. He has exhibited extensively and his work is in many important collections, including the Kunstmuseum Basel; the Fogg Art Museum (Harvard); the San Jose Museum of Contemporary Art and the celebrated Panza Collection where his paintings form a site-specific installation in one of the gilded and panelled rooms of the C17th Palazzo Ducale di Sassuolo in Varese, Italy.