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Review: Gallery unveils black-hued, beautifully crafted topographical sculptures

“Nebula #1” by Leigh Anne Langwell is a miniaturized galactic-scale relief sculpture designed by the artist to echo the macro-cosmic interstices within the universe.

“Nebula #1” by Leigh Anne Langwell is a miniaturized galactic-scale relief sculpture designed by the artist to echo the macro-cosmic interstices within the universe.

When artist and gallery owner Page Coleman opted to hang an exhibition of black-hued objects in her pristine white-walled gallery she found that few artists worked in pure black.

The result of her search is “Mostly Black,” a Page Coleman Gallery installation brimming with a complementary array of mixed-media sculpture by Rachel Zollinger and Scott Palsce, photograms and relief sculpture by Leigh Anne Langwell and full-bodied wire sculpture by Coleman.

Zollinger’s beautifully crafted topographical sculptures are reminiscent of modular constructivist works from the 1960s by Norman Carlberg of Baltimore.

Like Carlberg, Zollinger uses a variety of materials including epoxy paste to perfect her surfaces. Unlike Carlberg, who repeated the same form to construct architectural screens, Zollinger works in a series of one-of-a-kind units sharing the same basic dimensions. Her approach allows her to exhibit her works in small groups of objects that tell a formal story.

Zollinger’s sculpture evokes memories of water waves or mountainous land forms while Carlberg’s efforts have more to do with architectonic structures and segmental design.

Palsce is an interesting sculptor who ran a gallery for several years and works in construction when not in his studio. His abstract work is well designed and crafted but until this exhibition has not captured my imagination.

Of the four well-rendered offerings in this show the two works in galvanized steel, “Always Enter the Other Side” and “A Couple of Things with Rings,” are the strongest and by far the most interesting.

“Always Enter the Other Side” by Scott Palsce is a design inspired by ancient Anasazi doorways while exuding a monumentality that would make it a fine entryway for a public park.

“Always Enter the Other Side” by Scott Palsce is a design inspired by ancient Anasazi doorways while exuding a monumentality that would make it a fine entryway for a public park.

“Always Enter the Other Side” is a free-standing arch inspired by ancient Anasazi doorway designs. Though relatively small, the piece exudes a monumental feeling that would make it a fine full-scale entryway for a public park.

In “A Couple of Things with Rings” Palsce creates two upswept parallel forms that seem to soar skyward. At the base is an ascending spiral that acts as an energizing force. Both works offer Palsce positive new areas for formal exploration.

Langwell is a frequent exhibitor in Albuquerque who successfully explored the microcosmic electrical aspect of the human body and our macrocosm for many years. She seeks the impetus driving the so-called inner light of living organisms while including solar systems and galaxies.

In works like “Nebula #1” Langwell constructed a miniature environment to mimic a macro-cosmic image. It looks just like a view through the Hubble orbiting telescope.

“Squirrel” by Page Coleman was inspired in part by Alexander Calder’s wire circus figures.

“Squirrel” by Page Coleman was inspired in part by Alexander Calder’s wire circus figures.

In contrast of scale, her photogram “Spinner 1” captures the essence of an enlarged microscope image of the interstices found between cells in living organisms. She did so by physically constructing an invented environment.

Langwell’s background in photography somehow embedded a telephoto lens into her imagination, which she is able to skillfully adjust and “look” through from either end.

Coleman began her award-winning career as a painter but since discovering Alexander Calder’s wire circus sculptures has been having a whale of a time creating wonderful animal sculptures out of thin wire. Though she plays a low-key role in this installation many more of Coleman’s wiry critters can be found prancing along the walls in the side gallery and in her almost completed well-designed studio.

“Mostly Black” is a must-see powerful presentation by four talented artists.

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