When two upbeat longtime artists show together, they can put the jazz back into the razzmatazz. The Weyrich Gallery is featuring “Traces,” new work by Roger Green and Suzanne Marshall, through April 28.
With a bit of palimpsest and some hints from the New York and San Francisco abstract expressionists, Green puts the pedal to the canvas in such stunning works as “Pueblo Sunset” with its surreptitious serpentine linear motif.
Though not exactly the curvilinear arabesque of art nouveau followers like Henri Matisse, Green’s writhing gestural lines effortlessly describe Native American pottery designs, architecture and weaving patterns.
The predominantly red and smooth-to-the-touch painting is just a part of his abstract repertoire that continues to evolve from his work shown in July 2014 at the Freestyle Gallery. Green was an award-winning advertising artist, filmmaker and designer.
His be-bop-a-lula multilayered, sanded and re-sanded canvases offer an affirmation in support of his creative shift with a nod to rockabilly star Gene Vincent.
Marshall spent years creating highly detailed etchings, drawings, collage and monotypes that referenced a variety of scientific and real world subjects, including plant forms and other rational living essences.
She was a capital C Contemporary artist, right down to the hand-wringing angst rendered with a black, brown and white palette. Her work was beautiful, albeit a bit sad and filled with hints of omen-like melancholia.
Hello! And look out kids – “20 years of schooling and they put you on the day shift” – Marshall’s back and though not mad, has gone a bit bonkers with a riot of color and brand-new non-objective paintings that can and will knock off your Monday morning blues and not let you find your Monday morning shoes.
That’s a good thing, as the gallery is open only from Tuesdays to Saturdays.
“Traces” aptly describes Marshall’s new paintings, which range in size from 1 square foot to mural-scale works as they only offer pale references, as found in distant dream memories, to her career-building prints, drawings and collage.
Marshall’s new work is more a bloodless revolution than painstaking evolution. In Marshall’s “Projection,” I find touches of creamy flat surfaces à la Sally Condon or Kevin Tolman, but these are original marks laid over a possibly familiar desert backdrop. Or am I just projecting?
Marshall chose “Balance” for the show, with its kinship to Frederick Hammersley’s so-called “smart paintings,” but it exudes an inner poetic strength that’s pure Marshall. The juxtaposition between the light half and the dark half is amplified by a red horizontal bar, a mottled gray horizontal bar and a yellow ocher rectilinear shape that floats on the near-black ground.
The landscape first springs to mind while viewing “Restart,” a lusciously complex small painting that triggered memories of Theodore Stamos’ “Swamp Forest.” It feels strange to remember a painting from visits some 55 years ago, but some paintings stay with you through time.
I suspect “Restart” will become a part of someone’s long-term aesthetic and conjure thoughts of fecund growth and pure energy into the future.
Her new vision includes hints from Joan Miro and a few others, but they are exciting to view and do offer viewers the opportunity to return the jazz to the razzmatazz and maybe even scare the bird off the wire. Marshall has always had talent, but her revolution has only just begun.
Both artists cut through the current ambient noise that threatens to dim our senses.