ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Patrick Carr and Dennis Liberty are a couple of heavy-hitting guest artists at The Gallery ABQ through Feb. 29.
Their gorgeous exhibition “Terra Incognito: Explorations in Unknown Territory” features subconscious journeys of the modern mind in mixed media by Carr and beautifully painted treks through New Mexico’s high desert by Liberty.
Carr is a highly sophisticated painter/printmaker who helps us explore our nocturnal psychological interstices as he walks viewers through a dreamworld that comes alive when the sun sets.
If Rembrandt, Giorgio de Chirico and H. R. Giger spawned an aesthetic lovechild he would produce Carr’s imagery. Not that Carr concerns himself with alien creatures a la Giger but the Swiss artist’s occult view of life is not-so-subtly echoed in many of Carr’s renderings.
From Rembrandt, Carr extracts dramatic lighting and a rich high calory earthen palette and from de Chirico he taps the roots of surrealism.
In “Regarding Sanity While Enjoying an Irish Night,” Carr beautifully renders a no nonsense building against a blood-red night sky. A single light in the attic window symbolizes an awakening like a Monk in his medieval cell finding epiphany as he skillfully illuminates scripture for the “Book of Kells.”
Carr revisits emblematic architecture in “Confusing Choice Interrupts Evening Stroll,” a depiction of a lone figure facing a building featuring a series of adjacent doors. Since the scene is outside offering a broad landscape to explore the painting’s subject is nevertheless seduced by a possible interior journey maybe even an interdimensional one.
Carr takes us back to Giger in “Choosing a Less Monotonous View,” a sci-fi meets de Chirico on steroids landscape vista that makes the aurora borealis seem tame. Carr’s mind-expanding extravaganza takes viewers to a world we may not choose to live in.
Liberty is a multi-media adventurer who was once intimidated by the Sandias but got over it. His selected works include two series, Water Over Stone and his Utagawa Hiroshige (101 Views of Mount Fuji)-inspired 101 Views of the Sandia Mountains.
In “East Side Windfall,” Liberty invites the viewer to witness a high-country early fall within a group of trees representing a forest family of deciduous and evergreen beings that both tolerate and enhance their differing life cycles.
Though a realist painter by trade, Liberty unveils the fiction of realism in his Artist’s Journal commentary.
“Representational painting is a tricky activity. First, it is a fraud … to trick the viewers into thinking that three dimensions are present when they are really looking at a flat surface covered in different colors of paint,” Liberty wrote.
Be that as it may, Liberty’s prestidigitation is quite advanced in “Infinite Variety,” “Water is Life” and “Veil Dance” which convincingly range from closeups of moving water to an ambitiously clouded sky and landscape panorama that tantalizingly obscures the Sandia Mountains.
Liberty’s slight-of-hand and brush performance would garner a “standing O” from most audiences even after Liberty explained the trick. Bravo!
The Gallery ABQ is a successful co-op that over the years has become an outstanding venue for a variety of artists and media. While visiting, the beautifully rendered POP art oils by Jeff Warren, who hails from the SoCal film industry, caught my eye, as did the lovely figurative monotypes by longtime New Mexico printmaker Sarah Anderson.
There are a lot of solid works on display throughout the space. Two thumbs up.