Saturday, May 11, 2013

Career Milestones and Reflections of the Past

This week a lovely review of my January solo show at Arden Gallery was published in the May issue of ART NEWS (pg. 106). The reviewer, a very perceptive critic and excellent writer, was Joanne Silver. Mentioning several works, she really picked up on the nuances in individual pieces and the overall viewpoint of my show, "The Resonance of Time."

"Right Vocabulary," 2012, 24" x 24", mixed media with tacks and encaustic.
This piece appeared with the review in ART NEWS.

Here is a scan of the review that I think you will be able to read if you click to expand the image.

The ART NEWS review written by Joanne Silver, published in the May 2013 issue.

Seeing a review of my work in a publication with the status and distribution of ART NEWS was really a thrill. When I first learned that the reviewer was Joanne Silver, I immediately recognized her name. Joanne had written about my work years and years ago, but I couldn't remember the exact details of when it was and what she had written about.

Prior to writing a thank-you note to her, I looked through my file of old clippings and reviews to see if I could find anything. There it was--The Boston Herald, Friday, August 27, 1993--twenty years ago! She had written a very nice piece about a show I had called "Evocative Objects: Constructed Paintings" at the Children's Museum in Boston. Most of the pieces in the show incorporated objects I had purchased from the Recycle Shop at the museum. That was such a great place for artists to shop and get cheap materials. The shop sold donations from manufacturers of waste materials, discontinued items, scraps, buttons, dice, plastic chips and who knows what.. You could fill up a big paper bag for $3 or $4 and then figure out how to use it when you got to your studio.

Here is the 1993 review written by Joanne Silver from The Boston Herald:

One item I remember in particular from the Recycle Shop, that I used all the time in my work, was Nerf Javelin handles made from extruded black foam rubber. I loved that stuff and used it in so many ways.

"Cauldron" from 1994 or 1995, about 18"x 12", made from Nerf Javelin handles, a found
catalytic converter, other things, and, of course, tacks

Detail of "Cauldron"

The piece shown here was a bit more sophisticated than the work I exhibited at the Children's Museum, but the basic look was there--tribal, handmade, dark, hermetic. And this is the work that I looked back on before I started my Running Stitch series (what I showed at Arden Gallery that Joanne Silver reviewed in ART NEWS). At least 15 years had intervened between the two bodies of work, but when I started using recycled and found objects again (and, of course, tacks), I really felt that I had come home to my true self.

It does give me a kind of Twilight Zone-ish feeling when I think of those 15 years that I was spinning my wheels making all kinds of paintings, mosaics, collages, sculptures and various styles and genres of art. Of course, nothing is ever wasted when it comes to making art. It all goes into the maw and comes out somehow, maybe years later, but it's in there, percolating.

Surprisingly, Joanne Silver wrote back to me to say that she did remember my work from the Children's Museum and had wanted to see what I was doing now. That totally unexpected response shows that art critics, at least the good ones, have long memories and may recall work they have seen and artists' names over long periods of time.

Refreshing my memory of the Children's Museum show through this review was like coming face to face with  the self I was then through the work I was then making. Imagining at the time that I would have reached the career milestones of representation by a Newbury Street gallery and a review in a national art publication, was way beyond anything I could envision. Maybe I should go through my old files and see what else I can discover about myself by seeing who I used to be and what I used to make.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Gregory Wright - FORCES

Greg Wright, a friend and skilled painter, is currently having a solo show of 18 works in his series, "Forces", at Galatea Fine Art in Boston's South End, running until May 31st.

Detail of Synaptic III

Shifting, Expanding, Creeping, Growing, Intertwining
The works are all painted in a grisaille palette of mostly greys, whites and blacks, but despite the overall somber tonality, the marks and forms in the works appear to be actively moving in a lively exploration of space. Those forms represent "the dissemination and movement of information and the unspoken word" but are also unseen forces present throughout life within our bodies and in our souls. Portraying all of this is a weighty challenge, but Greg paints twisting and intertwining organic forms in many shapes and configurations that he imagines in various scenarios. This is a powerful collection of works that draw the viewer in to visual exploration of the dark recesses within the sinewy compositions.

Viewing the Exhibition Moving Around the Gallery  (be sure to click on the images to enlarge them)
(Note: I'm sorry for the color differences here and there caused by those yellowish photos being taken by my iPhone. Others were taken with a more-pixelated camera.)

At right, Synaptic I, II and III, 2011- each 48" x 20,"
At left, The Truth Comes Out, 2012, 36" x 30"
All painted with encaustic, oil, pigment and shellac on birth panels

As we enter the gallery space proper, the three tall Synaptic paintings are on the right and ahead is the slightly more colorful The Truth Comes Out. One of the forces that Greg refers to is synaptic reaction as electrical impulses move through our bodies or across the internet. He is interested in the forces that set off this chain reaction and perpetuate change.

 Synaptic I, II and III, 2011

Synaptic III

The side wall of the gallery showing left to right - The Quest, diptych,
On Many Different Levels I and II (boxes) and The Truth Comes Out

Dimensional Illusion
Seeing these works on the screen,may give the impression that they are actually sculptural, and although they do have some areas where encaustic paint is built up, these are two-dimensional paintings. Hieronymus Bosch is an influence, but where Bosch depicted humanity to comment on social and religious life, Wright's forms are abstractly organic and vaguely familiar but not identifiable. He refers to them as "Baroque-like compositions of beautiful complication."

The Truth Comes Out, 2012, 36" x 30"
encaustic, oil, pigment and shellac on birth panel

I think The Truth Comes Out is my favorite piece in the show. It seems to portray an undersea world of seaweed, billowing bubbles, limitless underwater depths and some kind of strange egg shapes. The mostly grey palette has a few cool greens added that enhance the illusion of or allusion to the sea world. Or could this be an imaginary glimpse into the inner workings of the body, not pink and red as we know it, but cooly grey and white with touches of green?

Closeup of The Truth Comes Out

On Many Different Levels I and II, 2011, each 6" x 6" x 6"
encaustic, oil, pigment and shellac on wood

These boxes are painted on five sides with a continuously expanding portrayal of forms moving through space and interacting with each other. 

The Quest, diptych, 2010, each panel 30" x 24"

Left panel of The Quest

The forms in this diptych almost take on human shapes tumbling through space, but the forms retain their anonymity as they "morph, combine, and reimerge into something other than their original state."

Left, Reaching Out, 2010, 36" x 30"
Right, Lucid Moment I and II, 2011, each panel 40" x 36"
All three painted with encaustic, oil, pigment and shellac on birch panels

Lucid Moment I and II

Lucid Moment I from a closer perspective

In the Lucid Moment paintings the scale and shape of the forms change to become larger, more frontally presented and less rounded. Connections between the forms are emphasized by chains of thin links making them into a continuous unit. These works, Wright says, are "about finding clarity or reaching a climax."

Reaching Out, 2010, 36" x 30", encaustic, oil, pigment, and shellac on birth panel

Reaching Out, detail

This spiderlike or crablike form appears to have burst out of its surroundings as if it is moving forward toward the viewer. The beautifully-textured background seems rock hard while the form itself looks soft but powerfully graceful. Does this depict what Greg refers to as "an awakening in the soul?" 

Moving around the gallery, we come back to a short movable wall that faces a window into the hallway on one side and the gallery on the other.

On the gallery side of the wall, is a diptych called Convergent, painted on
two 18" x 18" panels

While on the window side of the wall, a quadtych of four 10" x 10" panels in
The Story Continues promises more to come.

The small panels of The Story Continues contain dramatic contrasts within the individual works, and the central breaking apart of the image reinforces the expansiveness portrayed in Reaching Out. Hidden forces are present in every aspect of our lives and Greg Wright has visualized them for us in a dynamic and fascinating show. I hope people near Boston will be able to see it in person.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Part Three - Salon des Refusés - "RED"

Here's another piece rejected from the A Gallery RED show. I think this is a beautiful piece by Donna Hamil Talman, and I know that this ties into her earlier photographic work with bones, archeology and ancestors. Great piece, Donna! I'm accepting it. (Please click to view this larger,)

Donna Hammil Talman, "Inner Workings"

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Part Two - Salon des Refusés - "RED"

As promised, here are the other submissions of works that were not accepted into the show RED at A Gallery in Provincetown. (Note: some of the artists submitting works here did have other work accepted)

Leslie Ford - "Red 5"- no info

Pamela Wallace - "Power of Fusion, Radiation, Convection, Conduction", wax and oil
on panel, 16" x 16" x 1"

Michelle Thrane - "Villa of Mysteries II", beeswax, resin and pigment on panel, 20" x 16"

Susan Lasch Krevitt - "Red Rover", wool, encaustic, oilstick in cigar box lid,
10" x 6.5" x .75"

Rae Miller - "Passwords" - no info

Diana Gonzalez Gandolfi - "Mapped Moves," 2008,  encaustic monotype
mounted on panel, 25" x 12"

Pat Spainhour - "Red Wing" - no info

Karen Frazer - "Chinese New Year Mandala" - no info

Thanks for submitting, everyone!