Becker’s “works are complex overlays of rectilinear, organic, and figurative painting,” Lawson says. “The figuration is comprised of silhouetted images of Buddhist statues. Embedded in Becker’s robust, gestural paint handling, the Buddhas raise questions about the correlation between art-making activity and mindful stillness as integrative disciplines.”
“The Buddha Paintings re-interpret a wide array of the contemporary artistic cannon,” Lawson adds. “They recycle cubism, collage and the gestural improvisations of abstract expressionism, as well as grid painting, crazy quilts and the kind of cultural sampling we might associate with Robert Rauschenberg’s random imagery.
Becker has been quietly working in an Oakland warehouse for years, for the most part under the radar, showing rarely, producing a consistently strong body of painting. For all of his studio practice’s independence from the strains of the market, his work could hardly be described as naïve; in fact, it seems to deal with every sophisticated current in the ongoing discussion of painting’s address to our culture and condition. He has woven together multiple threads of recent art history and any given organizing principle in the work might depend upon the precedent one chooses to track. From the counterbalance of Alexander Calder’s mobiles, to the opaque push and pull of Hans Hoffman’s abstraction, the gossamer layering of Robert Rauschenberg’s combines, or the kitchen sink inclusiveness of Chris Martin’s post history, it’s all here, supporting a sampler quilt of paint’s possible vernacular range.