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What Lies Beneath

By CAROL Knowles, Memphis Flyer, September 11, 2008

In December 2007, Memphis artist David Hinske moved to Taos, New Mexico, opened a gallery in March, and a month later, took a 2,400-mile road trip. When Hinske returned home, he processed the previous six months by painting and putting together "Road Work," the exhibition now on display at Jay Etkin Gallery.

Many of Hinske's beautifully modulated paintings are punctuated with small crevices and openings so scumbled, translucent, and free-form they seem to appear and disappear before our eyes. The blurred yellow squares and rectangles in the deep-blue acrylic-on-plywood 560 Rooms, 28 Miles bring to mind the lighted windows of the rows of motels Hinske drove past at dusk looking for a place to sleep.

In an interview, Hinske described pumping gas at midnight, dressing as casually as he wanted, and sleeping and eating whenever he chose. Freedom of the road is beautifully recalled in Red Shirt, No Shoes, a deep-red acrylic-on-canvas dotted with green fields and darkened windows of mostly vacant motels in small New Mexican towns like Tucumcari. On the right side of the painting, a stroke of pale pink slices the crimson background, underscoring the range of Hinske's feelings, vibrating the entire chord of red.

Forty washes of white acrylic tinged with yellow simulate linen sheets in Sleep in Your Own Bed. Delicate cross-hatched portals open from the inside out as impressions of the past six months float into consciousness and are assimilated. The artist's mind clears, and while driving across endless expanses of Texas, an eye-popping, purple-red sliver floating in yellow in Amarillo strikes Hinske's retina (and ours) with the force of revelation.


Almost Eden


David Hinske is after something rarified, almost ineffable in "Transcendental Vocabulary" at Art Under a Hot Tin Roof. In this exhibition of nonsensically titled luminous abstractions, Hinske asks us to let go of visual and verbal associations, to play in fields of free-flowing color shot through with light. 

Barely visible, thumb-sized smudges in several of the paintings conjure up the first bits of matter coalescing and the first artist making his/her signature mark with a chunk of charcoal in a Paleolithic cave. The rest of Hinske's boundless and effervescent surfaces bring to mind cotton candy and Technicolor amoebas. Like Beth Edwards' surprisingly powerful rubber duck portrait of bliss, Hinske's melted-popsicle pools of radiance are also a joy to behold.