On a recent rainy Friday, I had the pleasure of visiting and considering again the current exhibits – Karen Meninno in the Main Gallery and Robert Maloney in the Center Gallery. These exhibits and Susan Scott’s show Righteous Ordinary are up through April 30 at the Kingston Gallery.
Inspired by architecture and a recent trip to Rome, Karen Meninno’s work, which gestated as small sculptural elements, has evolved to digital wall coverings, displayed as scrolls of almost hallucinatory endless patterns. At first you don’t know what you are looking at – highly decorative, jewel-like images that reflect and mirror themselves. Totems of repetition, shape and colors evocative of another culture, they become both a hybrid and a translation, from sculptural objects to repeated patterns of pure delight. Her work resonates with a strong trend in Europe and here in the States of artists working in a variety of mediums who are creating wallpaper as part of their practice. She is aware of and inspired by many of them, like Kiki Smith, who work with Studio Printworks in New York. The artist seems poised to take orders!
Robert Maloney is also interested in the city, and takes us on a wonderful ride in a postindustrial world. His pieces straddle the line between structures being torn down and those being erected, as well as the elements of modern life that go unnoticed. A recent article in the New York Times, The Poetry in the Ruins of New York speaks to Maloney’s eye and his interest in this subject, and also alerts us to what is unseen. His wall of prints of repeated images push the medium, and explore a place, which becomes, through the treatment of the materials themselves, something new and knowable. A highlight of the exhibit is one of the small evocative sculptures, situated in a high corner, attached to the ceiling, which further explores the edges and disregarded parts of our urban environment. These seem to be an especially strong new direction for the artist, and one that this viewer hopes he continues to follow, bringing his viewers with him.
Last night during Beverly’s First Thursday Art Walk, Sophia Ainslie spoke about her current exhibition Interstitial to an audience of Montserrat students, faculty, and visitors with curator Leonie Bradbury. Seated in front of her wall painting “Fragments – Wall – Montserrat”, Sophia spoke about the development of her current body of work as a way of processing her mother’s illness and death, the evolution of her wall paintings, and future directions for her work.
Meredith Cutler interviews Karen Meninno on the development of the work for her exhibition “Sculpture Remix” (at Kingston through April 28), the relationship between her two- and three-dimensional work, and her thoughts on cities real and imagined as someone born in New Delhi, raised in London and now living outside of Boston.
On a recent visit on a lovely Friday afternoon to Kingston Gallery, Rose Olson’s paintings were still glowing. How these works are perceived is so dependent on the light, time of day and where one is in the space in relationship to the work.
This exhibition and the other two are up for one more week, through March 30. Congratulations are in order for Rose Olson, Haruyo Nakanishi and Susan Alport, as we have had many visitors and great response to the work. Something came to mind when looking at the Center Gallery’s Paper Dialogue. How do works of art, these mute objects, speak? And how do they speak to each other? The materials, color, forms, and technique are all elements that allow this to happen, but it is also the dialogue that can occur between the objects. That certainly is happening in the Gallery this month.
Two neighboring shows are very much worth mentioning, as they are stand out exhibitions in themselves and also are in dialogue (in this viewer’s opinion), both in terms of form and content, with Kingston Gallery. They are Catherine Kernan’s exhibition After Images: New Woodcut Monoprints at Soprafina Gallery and Ann Pibal’s Los Dos at Steven Zevitas Gallery.
A visit to 450 Harrison Avenue is in order — all these exhibitions are harbingers of spring, and are a powerful reminder that artworks made of paint, ink, wood, and paper act as mirrors: they reflect back, revealing us to ourselves.
I recently went to see the work up in the Kingston Gallery through March 30, “Light Moves”. In daylight the gallery was glowing.
Rose Olson’s paintings are an emanation and a reflection at the same time, much like the elements of nature (water, sky) reflect and refract how and what we perceive. These new paintings remind me of Agnes Martin, that is if Agnes Martin were to key up her colors to a very high pitch and abandon the emptiness of the desert. The similarity of course in both artists’ work is the reference to landscape and to geography without the actual representation. These paintings are slow. Experienced as a whole, they make sense as if they were a unit, connected by their horizontality.
Rose’s work also brings to mind the 19th century American Luminists, whose view of nature as one of ‘illumination’ was shared with the Transcendental movement. She says that color has a sharpening aspect – affecting our senses and intellect simultaneously. The predominate use of pink, yellow and orange feel not of our climate or sensibility, and the delicate surfaces belie the impact of the palette. The colors push against the edges of the support, transforming and transcending the wood and the grain, which becomes part of the image, pushing back against the color. They are imperative as objects and are also evocative of something beyond their material selves. As with all art which is compelling, the paintings act as a projection, precisely because the viewer is invited to see both themselves and the world in a new way.
The work up in the Kingston Gallery through February 24 — paintings by Sophia Ainslie, Stacey Alickman and Lynda Schlosberg — bring to mind the current interest and the many discussions inspired by Raphael Rubenstein’s seminal article which appeared in Art in America in 2009, “Provisional Painting”, and the superb show Paint Things: Beyond the Stretcher, curated by Dina Deitsch and Evan Garza now at the deCordova Museum and Sculpture Park.
Their work is part of this ongoing conversation about the way artists both pay homage to and challenge painting and its history, and the delight in that dichotomy — for both the practitioners and viewers as well. To see a painting of enormous scale inscribed on a wall, as is the case with Ainslie’s “In Person”, and to know that it is temporary, alerts the viewer to the challenge the artist presents — in questioning the value of the work and how one is to perceive it. Stacey Alickman literally takes the detritus of a work as she recycles oil paintings by peeling the paint off of its canvas and using the resulting paint-laden chips for other projects. Lynda Schlosberg’s work is characterized by a relationship between form and formlessness — even as the work is circumscribed by relatively conventional means, acrylic on panel, she is attempting to push against what might be expected from the materials themselves.