Colors in motion 

Ernest Fackler is a propeller ... he's one who propels. As a painter and as a musician (guitarist and singer for local band Heroes & Villains), not only does he himself propel, but all his creations tend to be studies in propulsion as well. Even the movement between the paintings faithfully represents Fackler's formal and conceptual drive at an incredible speed.

Like the Italian futurists before him, Fackler's deepest concern lies with the present in relation to the future. He even adopts symbols, such as automobiles and war, which move society toward change in many ways.

One might wonder how Fackler's painted dances of color and form can really be propelling forward when the work looks like that of the early modern movements of cubism or cubo-futurism. But doesn't Picasso's blue period recollect the monochrome palette of French symbolist Eugène Carrière? Don't Warhol's shoes fit the feet of Lautrec's can-can dancers? Expect nothing to be completely new. Everything in art is nothing more than a reinterpretation of a previous form.

And with each painting, Fackler's forms gain momentum. Not only the forms within the paintings, but, as of late, the canvases assist in conveying movement. As seen in his most recent work, "Bombardment," the canvas takes the shape of fantastic geometrics moving your eyes in and outside the piece. This incredible sense of motion, coupled with the emotive associations produced by Fackler's electric color combinations — salmon pink against a patch of sky blue or a cherry red dropped to drown in an absinthe green — hit you with energy and speed, then explode like mad fireworks across the sky of your mind.

Fackler has come a long way in the few short years of work on display, beginning with primitive images of black and white to the kaleidoscopic delight of tonal saturation we see today. But through it all, the foundation remains: a structure of simple lines organized as a theme. Shapes and colors are built upon like musical notes and established in harmonic relation to each other as in a musical composition. These lined "themes" appear as variations to one another and connect each painting as a great fugue.

But the association doesn't stop there. Fackler's paintings are most closely related to music on a different level — an emotional or spiritual level. Most paintings are seen, perceived, thought about through a process of association, and then felt as an impression long after you've experienced them. Fackler's work, like music, has an immediate impact. It can hit you below the belt and resonate with you for days.

When you stop by to check out this show or the next one, say hello to Maya Cadwell, the gallery's radiant new curator.


Propulsion runs through Aug. 15 at Fi-nite Gallery, 1370 Plum St., Detroit; 313-283-1736.

Richard Wohlfeil is a freelance writer. Send comments to

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