The palimpsest enjoys a comfortable prominence in the modern art historical canon. The classic example remains Erased De Kooning Drawing, a 1953 Neo-Dadaist morsel by Robert Rauschenberg, in which the artist solicited a heavily worked charcoal drawing from an artist he admired and subsequently spent months obliterating it through the use of a variety of tools. In the decades since that piece’s controversial “completion” and eventual display, process-based works that figure heavily on subtraction and erasure have become a routine part of modern and contemporary abstraction.
Garrett Pruter, born in 1987, brings a particularly lush sensibility to established notions of painterly austerity and minimal mark making. His current exhibition, “Traces,” at Judith Charles Gallery, presents a series of compositions that are at once both dense and disconcertingly empty, like a low-res satellite photograph of an arctic tundra, or a pattern of late-night broadcast television static, exhumed from the pre-digital world.