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... A Heavy Graphic Arts Sensibility...
Fascinating how an art competition reflects its juror so richly. 500X' annual juried show must have attracted some serious artists to render a show this interesting. Did they know Dr. Frances Colpitt's style? Did they calculate their work for her or just throw in with what they had? Is this all a trend?
We didn't like everything, of course, and had serious question about some. But there's a cohesive visual style to this show that's missing in most. Would be strange indeed if all were as homogenous.
EXPO 2007 has a heavy graphic arts sensibility about both its representations and abstractions. Not only is real depth absent in much of the work, the only 3-D art I remember (a purple rubbery tube thing called "River") more resembled the paintings in color, line, tone and form than traditional sculpture. Like everything best about this show, they toy with our sense of depth.
Lori Frazier's Snowman logs into this Expo's style with some depth and an abundance of empty. A dark shadow incising — is that a knife or the silver shadow of a knife or just happenstanced shade? — into a field of snow, featureless save the texture of paper — framed in feature-free black forms only vaguely referencing color or shape.
Lori says "man" but I see woman and an umbrella and that knife, which couldn't be, any more than the umbrella.
We know something's up but haven't a notion what, or much care. What's not there in the usual ways is plenty there in others completed more by our mind than our eyes, even if we could never see anything without both working overtime.
Black, white, gray, gold and brown is its entire spectrum. Yet those five colors reveal a spatial reality I didn't question till I got pictures on the monitor and finally noticed how what I liked in this odd show fit so amazingly together in depth and tone.
More flat. More implied depth. The barest hint of puddled paint in the biggest thing blue I'm sure wasn't supposed to show. More graphic representing, less traditional shadowed lines and shape. Black, muted cyan, orange, magenta, white and gray. A mathematician's fear of physics revealed in flat flat and flat — muted — form and color.
Stamping down the third d while leaping into the fourth. We know what we're seeing without really seeing that. Are those dropping shadow shapes flowers or even floral?
When I shot this I was thinking of the legions jumping into depthing stripes so long after Bridget Riley. Discovering a long hidden reality, like all those great inventors inventing photography in the same decade. The implied depth of calibered and colored verticals knotlessly tied with iconic vegetation, ivy on a wall of edges, a nod in the direction of dimension without quite falling for or into it.
It's a visual joke. Punning in depth and line and shape and hinted shadows.
When I photograph work in galleries it's often not so much because I love the work, as that it intrigues me, makes me want to discover reasons for liking it. The star of Rubble is a jangle of curving color clockwork arcs and lines in the shape silhouette of — what? a woman? Is that even a person? — leaning over as to tie a shoe. Its whole world a splay of flat, short spectrum muted colors. One straight line and a lot of jagged edges tape pulled off the canvas.
Depth. The guy standing beyond. We know he's beyond because he's framed by bigger stuff and smaller. One kind of puddled splotch her shadow. That line dipping straight down hard, left edge, her hue jangle, his ungestured form, and all that splatter of neutral on nothing on quiet unmannered gray brown naught. A gentle story of not many more than five or six colors again. The only real depth inside the jangle tying her shoe.
A flat curtain of red paint pleated black and gray up into the folds not that different from rectangles. A monochromatic eye trick that yields a color field that could be a curtain or the sense memory of one. Implying shape and depth without letting go the notion of it. A vertical ripple in the continuum.
Do we have depth here or simplified implications? Not much in the way of shadows, usually how we know depth when we perceive it. Some maybe muddled, and unnaturally muted, in the corners. Not much but linear and curving perspectives in the middles. Colors as. Shapes as. But nearly nothing in the genuine representation of. Although it's everywhere in it, through it. Edge to edge depth with none of its trappings.
We know what we're seeing even without the tip-offs we expect. Dancing around the concepts of mass, length, depth and time, incorporating all those markers in strange other ways.
Expo 2007 through February 4, 2007 at 500X.