AROUND THE BEND: NEW PAINTINGS BY KAREN BLAIR AND MASH UP: A GROUP EXHIBITION AT THE PAGE BOND GALLERY FRIDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2014.
The Page Bond Gallery is pleased to present Around the Bend: New Paintings by Karen Blair and Mash Up: A Group Exhibition featuring work by Eric Diehl, Julian Jackson, Harris Johnson, Becky Joye, Bea Modisset, Lee Piechocki, Evan Pomerantz, and Grace Weaver, Friday, December 12, 2014 from 6 to 8 PM. The exhibition will run December 12 to January 10, 2014.
Part representational landscapes and part abstractions, Karen Blair’s vibrant works demonstrate her keen understanding of both the material world and the materiality of paint on canvas. Her thick, vigorous brushstrokes adapt and intensify the textures and colors found in nature to express her own responses to the world around her. Blair writes, “While maintaining elements of landscape, [my paintings] push further into recording memories of experiences. We live in an age of Instant images and endless sharing of two dimensional pictures. We scroll, we tweet, we blog. Painting is an act of rebellion against this; guerrilla warfare in an electronic age.” Combatting the constant bombardment of digital media in the twenty-first century, Blair’s gestural paintings offer viewers a different kind of visual experience—one that celebrates a deeply human connection to the natural world.
Eric Diehl’s fascination with the absurd and the sublime is evidenced in his recent paintings of the Southwest, in which he employs “careful, technical execution to produce invented dreamscapes and impossible scenarios.” In these works, heavily pixilated and gridded sections interrupt otherwise precise, almost photographic images, giving viewers the impression that a crucial part of the scene is being censored from their gaze. Such pixilation mimics the effect of viewing images through a television or computer screen, calling attention to how one’s view of the world is now constantly filtered through technology.
At the same time, Diehl builds upon his canvases with layers of modeling paste and gel medium, transforming the surfaces into smooth slates with irregular, jagged edges. This technique gives the paintings an organic appearance that balances the illusion of pixilation and electronic simulation. In so doing, the paintings underscore the complex relationship between humans and the natural landscape, while also questioning technology’s role in mediating between the two.
The imaginative paintings by North Carolina-based artist, Becky Joye, transport viewers to a world of whimsy and diversion. Strikingly architectural in both form and subject matter, it is hardly surprising that Joye’s current works reflect her education and background in architecture. Comprised of colorful and playful structures emerging boldly from their indeterminate surroundings, these invented spaces inspire feelings of excitement and curiosity.
Intrigued by the overlooked utilitarian structures and commonplace edifices found along roadsides and in rural environments, Joye’s more recent paintings focus on amusement parks and traveling carnivals. “A great source of inspiration is early twentieth century amusement park rides and circus acts, for their bizarre and precarious designs,” the artist writes. But her works are about more than mirth and amusement; they are also evoking nostalgia and instigating viewers’ “universal desire for escape, thrill, and play.” Joye is a creator of dreams and the catalyst for longing and memory.
At the core of Bea Modisett’s recent works are the processes of growth and becoming. Inspired by solitary travel to Southeast Asia, this body of paintings is the product of both external and internal exploration. In these works, Modisett forges a connection between the natural landscape and the human psyche based on continual change: “This connection lies in nature’s constant need to destroy and renew itself and my tendency to parallel these actions in an effort to evolve, to discover and explore my place in the world. Each painting freezes and magnifies moments of internal change and puts them in relationship to the shifting landscape.”
In a rich yet somber palette, solid abstract forms appear to be in continual transformation and movement through space. Often, these forms loosely resemble elements of the landscapes Modisett has visited; yet their purpose is not to provid static representations of faraway places, but to construct ambiguous, open-ended—and therefore thought-provoking—compositions. Modisett’s visually captivating, gestural paintings encourage viewers to meditate upon the processes of creation and transformation, both within the paintings before them and within the viewers own mind.