Damon Soule’s intense, psychedelic landscapes vibrate with saturated, neon hues. The artist says he tries to unlock the most intense visual experience possible with his work. The color spectrum, he explained when we visited his San Francisco studio last week, is extremely limited and, with his contrasting color combinations punctuated with black and white stripes, he attempts to drive the limits of our perception to their extreme. When we caught up with Soule, he was taking a break for working on his large-scale acrylic paintings on canvas for his forthcoming solo show at Mirus Gallery in San Francisco, “Quintessence,” by working on some electronic music that will accompany an interactive installation for the same show. Easily bored at gallery openings, Soule doesn’t want the opening of “Quintessence” to be a stiff and formulaic affair.
Though Soule’s work is abstract, he works from specific concepts for each of his series. “Quintessence” is a meditation on the imperceptible qualities of the universe. Fascinated by the idea of dark matter — and the recent hypotheses that there could be dark solar systems, planets and even dark life — Soule’s latest work is an exercise in visualizing the invisible. When asked whether or not he is spiritual, Soule replied with “I think everybody is.” Even people who claim not to be, he said, must feel something when they go somewhere where there’s no light pollution and see the stars. “Quintessence” opens November 23 at Mirus Gallery and will be on view through January 4.