Tangle and Sensation

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Parentheses (Here & There) Oil On Wood Panel 62 X 84 Inches © Courtesy of the Artist and George Billis Gallery- LA
Tangle and Sensation

2716 S. La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034
March 31st, 2012 - May 5th, 2012
Opening: March 31st, 2012 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM

culver city/west la
Tue-Sat 10-6 and by appointment

George Billis Gallery is pleased to present the gallery's first solo exhibition of work by Margaret Wall-Romana. The exhibition features the artist's recent encaustic paintings and continues through May 4th.

To call Minnesota artist Wall-Romana a painter of visionary botanical art is too clinical for her results, and too modest for her aspirations. She is a painter of exquisitely detailed flowers and vines, leaves and grasses, with an occasional fallen feather or crumpled bird woven into bouquets of roots and twigs that seem to drift through space. Sheer veils of soft color -- apricot, creamy ivory, ice blue -- flutter behind her blossoms and sometimes frame distant vistas of low mountains, mossy meadows, limpid seas.

Wall Romana writes of her work, "For painters like me who are interested in the whole history of painting, the studio is a place where centuries and genres collapse into each other. Paintings leap across them to speak to and of other paintings and painters. The 15th century Deposition from the Cross that I admire may remind me more of a bawdy 20th century Max Beckmann than of its contemporaries; the comparably brilliant formal inventions I see in each links them for me. The spectacular use of color I find in a narratively absurd 18th century French pastoral scene may get me thinking about the Hudson River School, or Color Field painting, or Charles Burchfield. A sleeve painted by Rembrandt may harken back to Tintoretto or seem like a quotation from Philip Guston.

I love the attitude towards painting that's personified by the Abstract Expressionists. It's painting writ large: a risky, ever-in-the-moment engagement with the canvas, with the possibility of failure always close at hand. I want to feel that possibility breathing down my neck when I paint, and my lengthy and open-ended process ensures that I often do. That being said, I'm drawn towards representation. An exquisitely painted passage that depicts something in the real world still and always will make me think: "Wow, I know that's just paint on a flat surface, but it's magic." So I would describe my larger project as one of negotiating these competing impulses towards abstraction and representation, and inventing ever new ways of making them dovetail."

In 2011, Wall-Romana's work was exhibited at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, through the Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program, where "Painting Before and After Words: Margaret Wall-Romana" was on view from January 20th to April 3rd. A painting from the show, "Towards and Away" was subsequently acquired by St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Another exhibition of her work, "Taking Time" ran from September 17th to October 23rd, 2011 at The North Dakota Museum of Art. The museum, located in Grand Forks, acquired the painting "Memento Lucem (Remember the Light)" for their permanent collection.

Wall-Romana received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Davis, and her MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago. She has work in collections from London to Manhattan and San Francisco. She currently lives and works in Minneapolis, MN.