6.25.2008

Awash In Color: "Boston Color" in New York

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.Entering the gallery: Laura Fayer, Diane Ayott, Isabel Riley

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Because I've been busy in the studio I'm a bit behind the curve on shows, but I wanted to acknowledge the Boston Color exhibition at Kathryn Markel Fine Arts while it's still up, through June 28.

Markel, a generous woman with a small gallery and a big presence (she represents dozens of artists and does many art fairs), visited artists' studios in Boston in the depths of winter and found unexpected wellsprings of color. Her field trip has produced a small, nicely diverse collection of strongly hued, easel-size work that could easily have been called "Boston Pattern," so persistent is the repeated geometry of work in the show.

The seven exhibiting artists are Diane Ayott, Nancy Berlin, Laura Fayer, Isabel Riley, Kelly Spalding, Craig Stockwell and Suzanne Ulrich.

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Diane Ayott: Up close, color fields reassemble into expanses of densely tangled pattern

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Diane Ayott is a friend. I know and like her work and have visited her studio north of Boston. She paints energetic patterns that from a distance look like solid, vibrating hues, but from up close reveal themselves to be a riot of fine-lined, overlapping and jumbled patterns into whose tangle you willingly tumble. Diane uses the phrase "pleasure in the visual" when she talks about her work. I think that's just right. She's also got work in the No Chromophobia show at OK Harris.

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Craig Stockwell's circular logic

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Remember the child's play of using a compass to make circles and then fill them in with color? Craig Stockwell does the artist version of that, creating masses of layered and overlapping spheres. He traces the edges into lyrical sweeps that have you dipping into and out of a flat picture plane. I first saw Stockwell's work at the Genovese Sullivan Gallery in Boston--two solo shows, I think-- and though his imagery has evolved, those circles and their undulating patterns remain a signature of his work.

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An economy of materials creates buoyant collages in Suzanne Ulrich's framed work, right; Kelly Spalding, far wall

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Suzanne Ulrich also works with circles. She makes collages--fabulous little minimalist compostions of geometric pattern. I first saw her work at the Copley Society in Boston about six years ago; there the work was quite small, the imagery was rectilinear, and it was comprised of tickets and other printed material, some of which she had painted over with gouache. Here there are effervescent open circles whose energy is barely contained by the frame of each work.

The other artists in the show I'm less familiar with, but I have seen Laura Fayer's work previously at Markel. Hers are paintings that seem to involve elements of painting and printmaking--fairly reductive imagery for the amount of technical stuff she layers on. Nancy Berlin shows three retinally acrobatic vertical stripes. Kelly Spalding is represented by an installation of stripes and geometries in gouache on linen canvas or dish towels--an odd but interesting combination of materials--while Isabel Riley creates wildly colored architectural compositions from fabric scraps and crocheted bits of cloth (I like everything about them except the little loopy crocheted edging).

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Nancy Berlin's saturated stripes, foreground

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This post is the last in my "Awash in Color" series but, fear not, color will never be far from this blog.

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1 comment:

Casey Klahn said...

Thanks for doing this series.