Exhibition Dates: March 1 - 26, 2011
Reception: Thursday, March 3, 6 - 8 PM
The Painting Center presents Charged Brushes, an exhibition of paintings by ten artists selected by curators Robert Bunkin of Parsons, The New School For Design and Colleen Randall of Dartmouth College from The Painting Center’s Artists Registry. There is no theme to this exhibition, rather works were chosen for their visual power and diverse painterly visions. The show is national in scope, including painters based in Illinois, Virginia, Michigan, Massachusetts, Vermont and New York. Each artist will exhibit several recent works. The artists in Charged Brushes are: Thomas Berding, Brian Bishop, Galen Cheney, Jeanette Fintz, Suzanne Guppy, Patrick Earl Hammie, Mark Lavatelli, Lorna Ritz, Jo Ann Rothschild, and Robert Szot.
Thomas Berding’s work is made in response to the post-industrial landscape: the diagrams of urban planners, interacting with more spontaneous paint-handling. This creates a dynamic hybrid between abstraction and representation. Brian Bishop works in a variety of media and scales, and will be showing small, monochromatic casein paintings from his Passage series, along with one encaustic piece. His work alludes to the fragmentary images that result from an accidental click of the shutter. These suggest surveillance and implied narratives, whose meaning and context exist beyond the frame. Galen Cheney’s calligraphic paintings evolve through trial and error, a balancing act between control and automatism. Her work has a speed of gesture, belied by the multiplicity of layers, a palimpsest of marks that show through the strokes and drips of translucent paint. Jeanette Fintz’s work suggests the geometry of Islamic tesselations. Her paintings are animated by the dynamic interaction of pattern and color, enmeshed and ever-expanding. For all their linear perfection, color is laid on with a visible hand, with variable passages, extracting incidents from the all-over patterns. Suzanne Guppy’s still-life paintings attempt to reveal the mysterious point where the representation of objects meets with surface abstraction and hold each other in a tension-filled balance. The still-life allows her to develop the connections between object and ground, flatness and depth, facture and illusion, without the narrative implications of figure and landscape.
Patrick Earl Hammie’s monumental figurative paintings show powerful male and female bodies interacting intimately, yet ambiguously: are they making love or in combat? His painterly attack reinforces this ambiguity between an erotic encounter and a wrestling match. The paint-handling is as luscious as the bodies. Mark Lavatelli’s diptyches juxtapose close-up views of trees and landscape elements with stenciled words that describe that landscape and enveloping weather phenomena. One panel is representational and the other abstract, but they are linked through color, shape and associative parallels. Lavatelli’s choice of encaustic also unifies the two panels, their sensual surfaces glide into one another. Lorna Ritz’s improvisatory abstractions are also generated by the experience of landscape. They suggest the glittering, irridescent light of sun-dappled forests and reflective ripples on lakes and streams. Dense clusters of brushstrokes: dashes, commas, loops and worms coalesce into dynamic rhythms of color. For Jo Ann Rothschild painting is as much a process of removing as it is of adding. Her work is generated by personal recollections of experience and other works of art. Like Cheney, Ritz and Szot, marks, colors and movements are improvised, they hold the surface in the sense that Abstract Expressionist works do. A luminous vertical center is the generative force from which energetic gestures unfold. Robert Szot’s abstract paintings seem to come from the urban environment. They are reined in by architectonic structures, broad fields of color are interrupted by smaller gestures and idiosyncratic forms. Like the other painters in Charged Brushes, his work has a palimpsest effect, where layers of previous activity bleed through the final layers of paint.