A new exhibition opened up at Seraphin Gallery in Philadelphia this past friday: Michael Morrill, Dawn and Dusk. A good example of clear-cut abstraction, Morrill’s paintings, inspired by Galileo’s moon drawings, successfully build tension between light and dark, positive and negative shapes, as well as refined color dynamics. The sophistication lies in their texture and overworked surfaces, which allow the viewer to spend a good amount of time with each painting; the eye moves across the surface trying to capture both the intricate pattern made by the painter’s marks and the overall simplicity of the image. Dawn and Dusk is a refreshing start for the beginning of the year. I enjoyed seeing good quality work that concerned itself with the most primal (and most important in my view) aspects of visual art: compositional introspection, balance of positive and negative shapes, matured color relationships and a carefully crafted surface. Michael Morrill’s paintings definitely impressed me with their sophisticated simplicity. I did not need much more to rinse from my tired eyes all the overstated ‘conceptual’ nonsense and frantic holiday glitter.