As you climb to the second floor of Kane Hall, Jeffrey Simmons' Echo, a circular painting 11 feet in diameter, rises like a moon over the stairway railing and dramatically takes command of the hallway by the Walker Ames Room. A common (and reasonable) complaint about abstract painting is “I don't understand it,” but in this case there isn’t really anything to understand. Native Ohioan and current Seattleite Simmons—taking his taking his cues from the high-minded fabulousness of 60s-era pop, op, and color-field painting—specializes in immediate visual appeal. Thin bands of color at starting at either pole of the painting become darker the closer they get to the center, where the build-up abruptly ends in a wide blank space. Distinct from each other when seen up close, the bands of color blend from a distance into a series of shimmering green-to-orange and orange-to-blue gradients. “Echo” (painted in 2000 and donated to the University by Greg Kucera and Larry Yocum) has a coolly precise look, but Simmons slyly leaves in some lumpiness as evidence of his accumulative process. A drip pattern visible under the acrylic paint “is basically a stain on raw canvas,” he says, “which becomes progressively more obscure as the layers of paint get denser and darker.” DAVID STOESZ

Starts: Oct. 28. Daily, 7 a.m.-5 p.m., 2009

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