Monday, November 12, 2018

Fifty/Fifty at Arden Gallery, Boston

Look for me here. I'll be at Arden Gallery on Saturday, November 24, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Come on by to see the show. The gallery is at 129 Newbury Street, Boston

Arden Gallery is pleased to announce its ninth solo exhibition with Joanne Mattera, who is known for her luminous color field paintings in encaustic. In the newest work, a continuation of her long-running Silk Road series, geometry participates in the process. A textural scrim of complementary or related hues overlays a bisected field. That horizontal is not a divider so much as a means of bringing color together in chromatic conversation. The even division of the field inspired the title of this exhibition, Fifty/Fifty.

Carol Pelletier, who curated the recent Organic to Geometric exhibition at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, which featured Mattera’s work, writes: “Her work is transformative and shifts as you spend more time with it. Floating linear beads of color, atop a split horizontal ground create visual movement across the surface of each painting.  Sometimes these floating, organic lines are broken and subtle while optically mixing with the hue of the ground.  At other times these same lines are significantly bolder in value and intensity, acting like paths across the planes of color. Often, they appear to be veils woven onto the surface.”

Mattera’s work in numerous private and corporate collections, as well as in the Montclair Art Museum, New Britain Museum of American Art, Connecticut College Print Collection, Wheaton College, and the U.S. State Department. Her work is included in the newly released Chromatopia: An Illustrated History of Color by David Coles, published by Thames and Hudson, Australia. Mattera divides her time between Massachusetts and Manhattan.

Fifty/Fifty will run through November 28.

You've just read the press release for the show. On a more personal note I can say that the divided field--hence the title of the show--is a relatively new direction I'm mining in a series that I've been working on since 2005. I have worked on other projects intermittently, but I always seem to come back to this one. Color is a potent draw, as is the challenge of bringing together two disparate colors and surfaces into one painting.

Another challenge has been scaling up from the 12-by-12-inch paintings I'd been doing. Wax begins to cool and harden the moment it leaves its heat source. Keeping the wax paint flowing from edge to edge at this larger scale demands a series of swift and steady swipes across the surface.

 A panoramic view of the gallery

 Silk Road 436, 2018, 24 x 24 inches

 Silk Road 403, 2018, 18 x 18 inches

 Silk Road 426, 2018, 18 x 18 inches

Silk Road 401, 2018, 18 x 18 inches
This painting was included in the Organic to Geometric show at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum in June, but I took the opportunity to show it again

Silk Road 432, 2018, 18 x 18 inches
All of these paintings are encaustic on panel

See more on the Gallery's website 
catalog is available online for perusal or purchase

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Coming Full Circle in Chicago

View from the street

If you're in Chicago between now and October 27, head over to the newly reopened Melanee Cooper Gallery in River North to see Coming Full Circle, an exhibition of work by Alicia LaChance, Arno Elias, and me. Cooper has installed the work so that it reads as three solo shows, the common thread being color. This is not a review, or even a report, since I'm in the show. Walk through it with me 

Left: You're invited
Image from the Melanee Cooper Gallery Facebook page

More information on the gallery website 

My section is just to the right when you enter the gallery. Here, a grid of 16 Silk Road paintings, all 12 x 12 inches), and several larger ones shown and identified below

As you know if you follow this blog or my work, I think of my painting as lush minimalism. While the initial inspiration for the series came from silk fabric, it quickly evolved into an exploration of hue and surface. These newest paintings channel the atmospheric with translucence and texture.

Silk Road 357, 18 x 18 inches; all the paintings encaustic on panel

Silk Road 421, 2018, 18 x 18 inches

Installation view with a peek at into the next gallery. I love that the walls allow these sitelines

Silk Road 420, 2018, 18 x 18 inches

Silk Road 425, 2018, 18 x 18 inches

Silk Road 417, 2018, 18 x 18 inches

Installation view with Alicia LaChance, left, and Joanne Mattera
La Chance's painting on the far back wall is shown below

Alicia LaChance, Arthur Avenue, 2018; fresco secco, acrylic, casein, spray paint on canvas over panel; 36 x 36 inches

LaChance, who is based in St. Louis, looks to the grammar of ornament, folk tradition, and graphic design for her mesmerizing mashups of pattern and geometry. A materially based painter, she incorporates everything from fresco to spray paint to oil or acrylic in her work.

Alicia LaChance installation view, with painting on the outside wall shown below
The three paintings are Slipstream 1, 2, and 3; each fresco oil, spray paint, acrylic on canvas over panel, 29 x 36 inches

Crossroads, 2018; fresco secco, acrylic, casein, tar, spray paint on panel; 60 x 48 inches

Alicia LaChance, New Village; fresco oil, spray paint and acrylic on canvas overpanel; 60 x 60 inches

Alicia LaChance, Homecoming; fresco oil, spray paint, and acrylic on canvas over panel; 36 x 36 inches

Alicia LaChance
Left: Monument for a Remembered Landscape; fresco oil, spray paintm and acrylic on canvas over panel, 36 x 36 inches

Right: Tantra, fresco oil, spray paint, and acrylic on canvas over panel; 36 x 36 inches

The open wall allows you to catch a glimpse of Arno Elias's work in the distance

Arno Elias installation with Holy Bath, left, and Pushkar Lake

Elias's painted photographs resonate with the color of a culture overlaid with a saturated palette of markings. The works in this exhibition are from his travels in India and Myanmar.

Arno Elias, Holy Bath, painted photograph, 30 x 41 inches

Arno Elias installation view, with The Power of Spirit, left, and The Walk

Arno Elias, Power of Spirit, painted photograh, 40 x 40 inches

In the Office: Martina Nehrling
Consider this a preview. The artist will have a solo show with the gallery in the spring

Big thanks to Melanee Cooper and her gallery assistant Sam Bean for curating such a great show. You can follow the gallery on Facebook

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Mothers of Invention: Helen Frankenthaler

With Abstract Climates: Helen Frankenthaler in Provincetown, a powerful exhibition at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum up through September 2, the famed artist has come home. 

A longtime summer resident of the town, Frankenthaler had a succession of studios in which the ocean and its legendary light flowed onto her canvases.  Curated by Lise Motherwell, a stepdaughter who has been intimately involved with the museum, and Elizabeth Smith, a founding director of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, the exhibition focuses on the paintings Frankenthaler created during summers spent living and working at the tip of Cape Cod.

Helen Frankenthaler in her studio "in the woods." For those familiar with Provincetown, the location was near Nelson's Riding Stable, on the road to Race Point
Image from the press release

Initially drawn to Provincetown to study with Hans Hofmann in 1950, she then took up summer residence there with Robert Motherwell, whom she married in 1958, and his daughters, Lise and Jeannie. By all accounts, summers in Provincetown were not lazy days at the beach but studio days. Using the soak-and-stain technique she pioneered, Frankenthaler poured paint onto unstretched canvases placed on the floor. Though she was admant that she was not painting scenes of the ocean and the atmospheric beauty that envelops Provincetown, she allowed that the emotional “climate” of place infused her abstractions.

This is the first of three galleries devoted to the exhibition in which paintings are displayed chronologically. The painting on the left, Untitled, 1950, was likely made when Frankenthaler was studying with Hofmann. The wall photo is another shot of her "in the woods" studio. This gallery also contains memorabilia and a timeline of Frankenthaler in Provincetown, which we'll look at on the way out

Panorama of Gallery 2. We'll tour the work in the following photos
At left: Abstract Landscape, 1951, oil and charcoal on canvas

Above and below: Two views of Provincetown Series, 1960, watercolor on paner

Sea Picture with Black, 1959; oil, enamel, and crayon on primed canvas
Detail below

Beach Horse, 1959, oil on linen

Panorama of Gallery 3, the Hans Hofmann Gallery

Top: Provincetown, 1964, acrylic on canvas
Bottom: Summer Scene: Provincetown, 1961, acrylic on canvasboard

The Cape, 1962, oil on canvas

Blue Atmosphere, 1963, acrylic on canvas

Breakwater, 1963, acrylic on canvas
Detail below

Cool Summer, 1962, oil on canvas
Detail below

Continuing around the gallery

Over the Circle, 1961, oil on sized and primed canvas

Provincetown Window, 1963-64, acrylic on canvas

Continuing around with Provincetown Window and The Bay

The Bay, 1963, acrylic on canvas

Back in the first gallery, we encounter this timeline

Frankenthaler had three successive studios in Provincetown.
At far left, Frankenthaler and Motherwell shared space in a building at Day's Lumberyard in the summers of 1961 and 1962, she on the first floor, he on the second. To the right of that b/w shot  photo is an interior view of Frankenthaler's studio in the building.  To the right of that is "Sea Barn," the three-story home she shared with Robert Motherwell, where they both had studios.  The large vertical b/w photo, which you see larger below, is of Frankenthaler's studio "in the woods." 

Frankenthaler in her "in the woods" studio 

Below: Frankenthaler swimming the the Bay with "Sea Barn," her home and studio, visible behind her. I shot both photos from the timeline

One of the things I learned from the catalog is that Motherwell bought the property at 631 Commercial Street, had it razed, and then constructed a three-story building of his own design. Frankenthaler's studio was on the second floor, Motherwell's on the third. The arched doors on the street-facing view are a nod to the first studio they shared at Days Lumberyard (a building and complex that is now home to the Fine Arts Work Center). Since the home is a literal two-minute walk from PAAM in the East End of Town, I completed my afternoon by stopping by the building and taking a few photographs.

Recently renovated and "reimagined," according to the information about it (it's now available as a rental under a new owner) the building now boasts new back decks and an extended first floor, which opens to a wooden deck. The concrete berm behind the house seems to have been removed so that the deck extends to a sandy beach.

Below: Front and back views of "Sea Barn" as it exists now

How women get erased from history. Frankenthaler lived here, too.
This placard is to the left of the bottom left window

One thing that hasn't changed: The view of Cape Cod Bay from the back deck

Abstract Climates: Helen Frankenthaler in Provincetown will be at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum through September 2. An expanded version of will  travel to the Parrish Art Museum on Long Island, August 4-October 27.

More reading

. Provincetown Art Association and Museum
. Catalog
The Boston Globe
. Provincetown Arts
. Wall Street Journal 
. Press kit