This past Friday the 13th of December, in the dismal rain, was a deliciously gilded day for anyone who went to Chelsea to contemplate the undismal sheen of these “late light gold works.” Created late in the life of Stephen Antonakos, and luminous, all these radiant outpourings and inpourings of a sun inside a mind shine forth.
The words “crumpled gold leaf” came rushing to my mind instantly as I stood next to the series of Terrains—what a word is “crumpled,” in all its destructive possibilities. Here, its implicit expansions are on display. These stunning works, labeled Terrains, presume a preliminary action of the hand—the “manus”—so this handcrafted display of golden beauty is the result made manifest. As Robert S. Mattison puts it in his truly lovely preface for the catalogue, “Throughout his career, Antonakos had made drawings with cuts, creases, and crumples.” It was always, then, about handling the object. Conferring on it an implicit dynamism, the artist was preparing the terrain for a meditation, and in that Meditation Chapel, of which a 2011 model is included in the show, there are windows to look through, mingling the thought and sight of outside and inside.