The assembled artists all use stripes and layers as formal constructs, but each has found a way to transform this staple of abstraction into genuinely expressive, individually poignant, and even quasi-narrative works of affecting beauty. Among them are those engaged with the current of life in a city, those finding their inspiration away from the man-made environment, and those who seduce the pattern-finding impulse in the mind of the viewer. The show presents works of heavy, gestural pigmentation; the cool regard of photographic science; the topographical layers of mixed media collage; and instances where evidence of the artist’s hand has been obscured. Above all, it demonstrates just how salient, resilient, malleable and, so to speak, solid the stripe can be when represents everything from a street, to a cresting wave, an emotion, or even an idea.
Nature is a fecund realm of astonishing power and chaotic harmony, where a prismatic array of simultaneous phenomena self-choreographs each moment of existence. Though sometimes cruel and destructive, the natural world is also a place of simple beauty and awe-inspiring splendor. Cities are bustling places that offer alternately vibrant, dangerous, crowded, lonely, sublime, terrifying, inspiring, haunted, architectural, energetic, intellectual, and violent experiences. Both city and nature are archives of interlocking histories; multidimensional, ever-changing networks of generations that continually replace, displace, and build upon one another, like the soil and stone in the strata of the Earth beneath our streets. Moving between these layers of Life and lives is man who among his faculties are counted both the gift and the drive to try and sort all this out.
Andy Moses generates a new visual language, using the forces and rhythms of gravity instead of brushes to create ambiguously evocative non-landscapes. Jay Mark Johnson’s hi-tech photographs reverse the usual roles of movement and solidity, capturing unmediated images of the outside world that are as much brain science as they are document. Philippa Blair uses a fair variety of techniques, the better to encapsulate something essential about the meandering way a city shudders into being over centuries, and what it is like to navigate that in real life. Painter Christopher L. Mercier organizes images and spaces in a way that resolves the age-old battle between line and color, using masses of paint to conflate the x, y, and z axes in playful, unsettling tableaux. Gretel Stephens seems to turn line on its head, forcing paint into flattened, luminous cross-sections like halos or single rings of a tree. Raul de la Torre is perhaps the most ebullient of the bunch, compressing linear splashes of latitude and longitude into colorful gestures that speak to the accumulation of memories.
~ Shana Nys Dambrot, Los Angeles 2011