The 17-artist installation includes works by Maude Andrade, Lou D’Amico, Suzanne Marshall, Carol Sanchez, Ralph Watts, and Barbara Woods.
Due to the large number of artists in this high-quality exhibition, this review will only touch on several highlights.
For many years, Andrade has focused on abstractions based on natural forces and surface textures, often using heavy impasto paints to literally build her compositions. Her latest efforts are part of her “Epicenter Series” based on the ellipse as an underlying structural element.
Larry Bell also executed a series based on the ellipse. His motivation was inspired by how we perceive the circle in our quotidian activities. Round dinner plates become ellipses when we sit at the table. Automobile wheels and hubcaps become ellipses when passing by or turning away from us.
In Andrade’s mind, the ellipse represents wave forms, sound echoes and the ripples caused by a stone idly tossed into a pond. Albert Einstein once credited his eureka moment while developing his general theory of relativity to observing the intersecting ripples created by tossing several stones into a placid pond.
To her patterned substrate ellipses Andrade adds what she describes as a “skin of oil paint,” which gives each of her works an individual narrative.
D’Amico is a longtime stoneware ceramic artist who has mastered the art form. Though his large vessels ranging from jars to vases in this show may have practical uses, it would be a true shame to hide the luscious purple interior of a work like “Jadiniare” that almost glows in the dark.
His large-scale pottery forms are inspired by classical forms with roots reaching back thousands of years through many cultures, including ancient Greece and dynastic China. Though D’Amico embraces the past, he manages to personalize each skillfully executed piece with charm and grace. These are some of the best contemporary ceramics that I’ve seen in a long while. And their generous sizes make them even better.
Marshall is a well-known printmaker who is transitioning from highly detailed formal geometric assemblage toward a more fluid abstract vision. Her new work is stunning.
Sanchez is a printmaker with a penchant for hard work. The mezzotint process she uses is the most labor-intensive intaglio printing method.
The results, however, are well-worth the required effort. Sanchez offers a series of images based on life forms and other, sometimes creepy, life forms that are richly colored in earth tones and are rendered to appear three-dimensional.
Mezzotint was originally developed to reproduce old master paintings for publication. Sanchez creates original masterpieces of her own design – a tip of the hat to Sanchez’s independent spirit and prodigious skill set.
Wood as an art medium has attracted artists and craftsmen like bees to flowers for centuries. Just when you think you’ve seen some of the best wood sculptures and crafts, along comes a guy like Watts to raise the bar.
Among woodworkers there are turners, carvers, laminators, inlayers and furniture makers. Watts is all of the above and has mastered every approach to woodworking.
In jaw-dropping works like “Life Summer/Winter,” Watts builds an entire ecosystem out of finely carved and stained pieces of wood representing trees, geology and rooted life forms.
His knowledge of earth history and ancient Native American cultures informs an elegantly turned bowl titled “Mimbres Coatimundi” featuring Mimbres pottery motifs. Watts adds another wow factor to an already impressive collection of artists.
Woods is a fabric artist who tired of designing clothes and decided to press her silk-painting skills toward building Tiffany and other art Nouveau designers-style lighting fixtures. Her drop-dead gorgeous ersatz stained-glass lamps are constructed from painted silk stretched over composite floral forms that mimic the best that Louis Comfort Tiffany had to offer. Woods’ works are lovely and well-done.
This is a great, albeit crowded show that is well-worth a visit. There are many superb artists lurking hereabouts.