BOSTON GLOBE, May 20, 2014

Theater & Art

Changing his colors By Cate McQuaid


For years, Terry Rose didn’t touch his paintings. He laid aluminum panels on the floor, applied varnish, and poured on oils and pigments to see how they’d react. He’s newly hands-on in his show at Gallery NAGA.

After a move from Boston to Shanghai, he has altered his process from wait-and-see to make-it-happen. He deploys a terrific variety of marks in pieces such as the diptych “Made in China XX.” He uses ink, Chinese watercolor, acrylic, and modeling paste to create sodden blots, fat and defiant strokes, a roiling blue-black oval, a surprisingly sparkly cloud of gray blue, and more. In the center, a descending, toxic brown column rams into a crackling explosion of white and purple. The artist seems delighted with his options; you can sense his exuberance. Rose gets occasionally too giddy with gesture and color, but many works are wonderfully restrained.

“Made in China III,” another diptych, features a black panel textured with drips and brushstrokes, at its center a foggy swipe of purple-black evokes a tubercular breath. The black continues onto the next panel, but then is held off by seeping vertical streaks of sandy brown, lit from within by white. The painter’s fascination with how his materials interact with each other, and act upon their ground, remains at the center of his art. He’s a notably versatile mark-maker; it’s good that he’s back in that game.