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.