Marsha Solomon, Serape, Acrylic on Canvas, 18 x 24 in.
Through the paintings of Marsha Solomon, the viewer enters an alternate space where emotions are evoked by color and line, which join in joyful dance or contemplative quietude. Her paintings offer portraits of time and states of mind more than objects.
Her still-life series, Tapestries, greets visitors with a profusion of bold pattern and color, derived from Solomon's collection of unique fabrics and objects collected from around the world. Kimonos and serapes join with shells, plants, antiques and colored glass in her inventive compositions. They are all arranged in a flattened, abstracted space, reminding the viewer that, while recognizable, this is not realism. It is more the magical realism of Borges or Garcia Marquez where impossible things can happen, if they are beautiful enough. The quality of Solomon's technique is visible in every area of the work. Textures are faithfully described. Her lines are lyrical and free, yet confident and strong. Shades can be as subtle as a whisper, or as bold as the artist feels will suit the composition. The completed work bears echoes of sources from as far back as Japanese woodblock prints and as near as Matisse, but the voice is Solomon's own.
Marsha Solomon, Imaginary Landscape, Pen and Ink on Paper, 8.5 x 11 in.
A new series of pen and ink works on paper is entitled All and Everything. In these small, luminous works, intense color and fluid lines are composed into joyful, often playful abstract works that may bring to mind gardens or animals but whose exact origins are never fully revealed. Theirs is a mystery better left intact. To decipher the objects woven into these complex compositions is to lose some of their delight. They are brightly colored, intimately scaled works reminiscent of manuscript illuminations and the paintings of Kandinsky.
Marsha Solomon, Tunnels in the Wood, Acrylic on Canvas, 42 x 50 in.
The largest body of work presented in the exhibition is Solomon's abstract series, From Rhythm to Form. In these powerful acrylic paintings on canvas, the artist exhibits both spontaneityand deliberation. Here, the artist gives more freedom to the material, allowing the paint to sometimes express its own esssence. Thinned pigment is poured onto unprimed canvas. The way the color is absorbed and spreads into the fiber yields unpredictable and often amazing results, creating deep swirling universes, or thin, ethereal clouds of color. Solomon then encircles these circular forms with thick, impasto strokes of contrasting color and texture, creating complex compositions which, somehow, escape the flatness of the canvas. The artist's technical control and vision is surprisingly strong whether the canvas is monumentally sized or small enough to fit in on the palm of hand.
Ultimately, though, these paintings, while exceptionally accomplished, are not about painting or technique. Marsha Solomon, in these deceptively simple, and at the same time complex works is hinting at states of mind and meditative awareness through the color, line and the language of the heart.
Marsha Solomon's From Still Life to Abstraction exhibition at the Atrium Gallery presents visitors with a chance to see three separate bodies of work by this accomplished artist. Careful viewing may yield surprising visions, not only of the breadth and consistency of Solomon's paintings, but also of those to be found in one's own reaction to these joyful paintings.