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Nudes emerge from wads of chewing gum

Bavington's bars at Marx: If video color bars looked as good as Tim Bavington's abstract paintings, people would watch them for their own sake. 

Bavington, who lives in Las Vegas, makes a good example of how younger abstract painters reinterpret the styles of an earlier generation.

He and his advocates among critics saw rigor in his elimination of reference and his confidence in intuition as a guide to color choices. In theory, a successful Davis painting strikes a chord of aesthetic rightness that viewers recognize by a kind of nervous system resonance. 

Artists of Davis' generation looked at his paintings and saw reminders of Barnett Newman and Piet Mondrian or, as one unkind critic said, swaths of awning fabric. 

Bavington, born in 1966, more likely sees colorized bar code. With that, as well as video color bars and the Las Vegas Strip's waves of neon in mind, Bavington may well have wondered what Davis' patterns encode. 

He has devised answers for his own stripe paintings, using tools never available to Davis. 

Using the appropriate software, assigning a different hue to each pitch, Bavington analyzes guitar solos from rock band recordings. 

He borrows the song titles for his corresponding paintings. For viewers with a good memory for music, this information probably adds a dimension. 

In any case, a borrowed title sometimes detonates a little joke, as in "All Over Now." The phrase from the Rolling Stonesclassic also echoes the concept of "all-over" composition, a critical demand to which stripe painting appeared the answer in the decade after Jackson Pollock's death. 

The optical luxury and dazzle of Bavington's work advertise the notion that aesthetics and rationale in abstract painting connect more tenuously and arbitrarily today than ever before.

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