Cate McQuaid’s review in today’s Boston Globe: Shows that paint outside the lines, and one that sticks to the script

Mary Bucci McCoy’s review in today’s Boston Globe along with Jered Sprecher and Lot F Gallery:

Shows that paint outside the lines, and one that sticks to the script

 By Cate McQuaid  Globe Correspondent   April 08, 2014

“Within” from Mary Bucci McCoy’s show “New Paintings,” at Kingston Gallery.

Two refreshing solo painting shows up now in adjacent galleries have much in common, but wander down wildly different paths.

Mary Bucci McCoy, at Kingston Gallery, and Jered Sprecher, at Steven Zevitas Gallery, make mostly small, mostly abstract works. Bucci McCoy’s delicately toned and textured paintings read like haiku: swift, elusive, ripe. Sprecher’s much denser, hotter-toned works display an exuberant virtuosity: He cuts up, sorts, and juggles forms; he layers veils of pigment. Small as his works are (the paintings on linen are 11-by-8 inches), they are deep, whereas Bucci McCoy’s are more wide open.

For the smaller paintings, the artist chopped up photocopies of his pigeon photo and made collages, which he re-created in oil paint. The birds can be discerned in only one of these works, “Pigeons,” in which we see a plump green silhouette, with the fluff of the wing feathers accentuated, but again the image seems incidental to the spark and flow of abstract painterly fireworks: down-rushing smears of gray and yellow, a narrow curtain of hot pink on one side.
Knowing the birds are there, if only in fragments, you might start to look for them. Is that the curve of a breast in “Invention of the Chair”? And maybe the stony face of the cliff along the bottom?

But this painting hinges on the thick, flat bars crossing one another, in black with great gaps of orange, over a changeable orange and red ground. The violently colliding bars have heft, but they vanish. There’s a broad passage of dun in the background at the top, a bland banner. Sky blue brushes lightly over the surface.

Sprecher plays tricks with space and surface; he makes bold marks and dainty ones. There’s so much going on in a relatively small space, it’s as if he’s deftly answering in paint the question of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

Bucci McCoy offers a deep breath. Her painting “Another Grace” is simply a pale peach, near square. When I saw it I sensed vaguely that the corners were receding, and I got up close. The paint along the sides is infinitesimally yellower than it is in the middle. The surface gently puckers and wrinkles, like water in a breeze. A barely perceptible zigzag, perhaps just evidence of the paint drying, saws softly down the right side. Discovering these is like unearthing secrets.

Early in her career, Bucci McCoy worked with ceramics. Her paintings have the tactile quality of clay and the surprises afforded by kiln-fired glazes. “Within” is an oval, like a cameo, in powder blue. It’s matte flat, but the blue rises off the surface in one thick dollop. Below that hovers a blurry white dot, and to the right, a dot of black, veined and glittering like mica. Each of these reveals itself on a largely unsullied plane, little eruptions through a placid surface.

These paintings convey the unlikely combination of patience and spontaneity. Sometimes Bucci McCoy takes action: Her finger makes a deep gully down the center of the pristine white “Channel.” But sometimes it’s also just about seeing how the paint reacts. “Sanctuary” has a ground of tender terra-cotta, perfectly flat. A heady wash of aqua pours in from the upper right, like a wave rushing onto sand. The breathtaking contrasts are many: the colors, the textures, opacity versus mottled transparency, stillness versus movement. This artist achieves all that with startling economy.

Signs to celebrate cursive

“Its Virtue Is Immense: A Pre-Vinylite Tribute to Script Lettering,” a jaunty show at Lot F Gallery, suggests that thanks to dedicated practitioners around the world, the art of hand-painting signs is not dead. It’s on the decline, and has been since vinyl signs came on the scene in the 1980s. But this show isn’t merely about hand painting. It’s a cri de coeur on behalf of handwriting, and in particular cursive, which is being taught less the more technology dominates communication.

“Handwriting Is Handy,” Bob Dewhurst reminds us in one snappy sign. Kenji Nakayama, in “ABC Script,” layers a cursive alphabet in autumnal enamels and variegated gold leaf, which glimmers with coppers and blues. It’s eye-catching, to be sure, but it goes beyond signage into art, with its complex layering of letters.

Nakayama came to Boston from Japan to study at the Butera School of Art, one of the last academic outposts to teach hand-painting signs. It closed two years ago. The work in this show reminds us that there’s something rich in the human touch that can’t be replicated in a prepackaged font.

Mary Bucci McCoy: New Paintings

At: Kingston Gallery,

450 Harrison Ave., through April 27. 617-423-4113, www.kingstongallery.com

Jered Sprecher: Half Moon Maker

At: Steven Zevitas Gallery, 450 Harrison Ave., 617-778-5265. http://www.stevenzevitasgallery.com

Closing date:
May 10

its Virtue is Immense: A Pre-Vinylite Tribute to Script Lettering

At: Lot F Gallery, 145 Pearl St., through April 25, 617-620-8452, http://www.lotfgallery.com

 

Cate McCuaid’s Critic’s Pick in The Boston Globe: Mary Bucci McCoy, First Friday reception this evening

Image

MARY BUCCI McCOY: NEW PAINTINGS Bucci McCoy’s small paintings hinge on the materiality of the paint, how it flows, how it dries, and how her spontaneous actions impinge upon it. Color matters, but the works are catalyzed by substance. Through April 27. Kingston Gallery, 450 Harrison Ave. 617-423-4113, http://www.kingstongallery.com

CATE MCQUAID

Image: Crux, acrylic on plywood, 9 x 7 x 1″, 2013

Congratulations to Mary Lang on the review in The Boston Globe by Mark Feeney!!

At Simmons, ‘Like Water’ for spirit

By Mark Feeney

Water dominates this planet. Light dominates photography. So what’s the relationship between water and light? Well, it’s ambiguous. Water can’t quite make up its mind about light. It reflects light. It also lets light in. It’s mirror and lens, and to at least some degree a distorting lens, to boot. Back and forth, up and down, in and out: From that duality, all sorts of arresting visual effects arise.

For a decade, Mary Lang has been photographing water: as river, ocean, puddle, cloud, droplet; between banks, along beaches, in parking lots, on windows; in Auburndale, on the Cape, by the Oregon coast, in the Andes. Variety of type and location is one of the attractions of water as camera subject. It’s not quite as ubiquitous as light, but it’s found in numerous forms all over the Earth even as it always remains the same: good old H2O.

In photographing water, Lang has said, she seeks “something intangible, impermanent, and luminous.” Those qualities are all evident in “Like Water.” These are quiet pictures. Lang’s waves don’t crash; they flow. One can more easily imagine her water evaporate than cascade or inundate. The power of water is there, but it has no need to call attention to itself.
It’s up to each viewer to decide whether those qualities Lang seeks take a form that’s more spiritual or strictly visual. Lang’s consistent ability to present color in a handsome, unemphatic way conduces to either interpretation. The images create their own sense of reality, not so much flirting with abstraction as inviting it in for a chat. Attractive as these photographs are, they are anything but pretty. Don’t expect to find them on a calendar or postcard. Not that there’s anything wrong with calendars or postcards. But staying up to date and tracking road trips are the furthest thing from Lang’s mind. That old putdown, “Hey, you’re all wet”? Lang shows that it might also be considered a compliment.
Image: Mary Lang’s “Near the Pump House, Auburndale, MA”
WATER: Photographs by Mary Lang

Trustman Gallery, Simmons College, 300 The Fenway, 617-521-2268. http://www.simmons.edu/trustman

Closing date: April 17

Mark Feeney can be reached at mfeeney@globe.com.

 

“Mira Cantor: Meltwater” Reviewed on Big Red & Shiny

Many thanks to Big Red & Shiny for their review of “Mira Cantor: Meltwater”!

Slippery Slope

Slippery Slope — oil on canvas, 48 x 36″, 2012

From the review:

“‘Meltwater’ and Cantor’s previous series [‘Silver Lake’ (2005), and ‘White Paintings’ (2008)] reveal her kinship to American landscape painters. Thomas Cole (1801-1848) created a native landscape vision which emphasized America’s unique natural heritage.5 In The Course of Empire (1832), Cole interpreted the extinction of glorious nations. Cole described Old Age in the Voyage of Life cycle (1840): ‘The stream of life has now reached the Ocean to which all life is tending.’6 With her passionate concern for sustainable life, Cantor continues in Cole’s legacy of cherishing the preciousness of nature. Cantor says that, in addition to the weather, she also thinks about death, which we cannot escape. ‘I want to know my world and alert people to it… And change will happen. The ice is melting. In a painting I can stop time.’7 The monumentality of Cantor’s minimalist forms is awe inspiring. The technical aspects of her painting style make palpable the slow transformation of our planet’s environment. A dynamic synergy between Cantor’s sweeping gestures, her control of the defined edges, and the way she allows the paint to function independently are what make the Meltwater series so compelling and demanding. When confronted with her work, we are immediately engaged with the profound implications of what we see.”

Read the full article here.

“Mira Cantor: Meltwater” will be on view through Sunday, December 29. Gallery hours are Wed–Sun 12–5. In addition there will be special Public Relations hours with Deborah Davidson on Tuesday, December 24, 2–4 p.m. NOTE: the gallery will be closed Wednesday, December 25.

 

Boston Globe Review of “Mira Cantor: Meltwater”

Thank you to Cate McQuaid for her review of “Mira Cantor: Meltwater” which appeared in The Boston Globe Wednesday, December 18:

Installation view

Installation view

“Icy Truths: Mira Cantor’s glacial landscape paintings in ‘Meltwater’ at Kingston Gallery are not huge, but they are expansive and generous. Cantor eloquently lets the paint’s textures mimic the surfaces of water, ice, and mountain. Her cool, luminous colors feel charged with energy. Massive forms seem to quiver, as if on the verge of dissolution.

Purple Majesty, oil on canvas, 48 x 36"

Purple Majesty, oil on canvas, 48 x 36″

‘Purple Majesty’ sets a peak beneath a periwinkle sky. Along one side, it’s shadowy lavender above icy blue-white. Slick white outlines the other side. But in between, the white thins to rivulets and drips, and the center vanishes into a gray abyss.

The paintings, with their monumental forms, verge toward abstraction. The title piece depicts a flat iceberg, mauve and tamped with pale, drippy orange, floating in a still, green-black sea. A thick frost of electric aqua green edges the berg beneath the water. That edge is no boundary. It’s a threshold, through which light and form passes into blackness.

These are cautionary images about climate change. But they’re extraordinary paintings, perilously active, filled with color, light, and texture, yet spare in composition. Marvel, and beware.”

“Mira Cantor: Meltwater” will be on view through Sunday, December 29. Gallery hours are Wed–Sun 12–5. In addition there will be special Public Relations hours with Deborah Davidson on Tuesday, December 24, 2–4 p.m. NOTE: the gallery will be closed Wednesday, December 25.