HUMAN BOTANICA: NEW PAINTINGS BY ALISON COOLEY AND YOU CAN GET THERE FROM HERE: NEW PAINTINGS BY KATHLEEN MARKOWITZ AT THE PAGE BOND GALLERY FRIDAY, APRIL 10, 2015.
The Page Bond Gallery is pleased to present Human Botanica: New Paintings by Alison Cooley and You Can Get There From Here: New Paintings by Kathleen Markowitz, Friday, April 10, 2015 from 6 to 8 PM. The exhibition will run April 10 through May 9, 2015.
Alison Cooley combines color field painting with lyrical abstraction to produce energetic mixed-media compositions. In her newest body of work, meandering lines intersect with sporadic splashes of color and neutral space, disclosing Cooley’s process and gestures to her audience. Layers of watercolor, oil paint, colored pencil, and ink bring complexity and texture to the works, demonstrating the artist’s interest in experimenting with playful graphic juxtapositions. The compositions tend to appear spontaneous and unplanned, foregrounding Cooley’s intuitive engagement with the materials themselves. Yet they are also notably balanced—even symmetrical at times, like brightly colored Rorschach tests. Harmony is paramount in these works, but it is a tentative, fragile harmony, achieved through the impulsive combination of disparate materials and forms. Cooley explains, “My paintings try to articulate the intensity and fugitive nature of a moment—desire, love, fear—by creating a brittle harmony between color, line, and wash.” Nevertheless, whimsical lines and a vibrant palette keep these compositions playful and light. While Cooley’s newest paintings touch on the thought-provoking nature of ephemerality, they also radiate with a decidedly joyful, uplifting energy.
Kathleen Markowitz’s recent series are as much about engaging with nature as they are about engaging with paint on canvas. The impetus for these abstract works came, unexpectedly, from a backyard encounter between Markowitz and a toad: “I swooped him up. He rested easily in my open hand, one leg hanging between my fingers. It was then, eye to eye with that gnarly-skinned creature that I reconnected with the pulsing world,” she explains. Since then, Markowitz has related the physicality of artmaking—a longstanding focus of her work—to a tactile connection with the physical world. Many of her newer compositions are vaguely suggestive of organic, biomorphic forms, evincing her tendency to reflect on nature while painting. But Markowitz does not depict nature; rather, she captures and channels the energetic rhythm of the natural world. Her bold palette recalls “the riot of color parading on petals,” while her dynamic brushstrokes evoke movement and vitality. In the more gestural paintings, thin layers of pigment build upon each other to reveal the work’s history of creation. As a whole, this latest group of paintings invites viewers to meditate on Markowitz’s practice of art making, which, like life, is an organic and transitory process of renewal and becoming.