"Lures at Mill’s Edge" 2014 oil on canvas 48” x 60”
photo by Aaron Johanson
"Paragraphs Stand in Dance" 2014 oil on canvas 48” x 60”photo by Aaron Johanson
|"Stories Off the Hip #2" 2012 oil on canvas 40.75" x 32.75"|
|"Thinking of Shad" 2010 oil on canvas 48.75" x 60.5"|
|"Stories Off the Hip #1" 2012 oil on canvas 40.75" x 32.75"|
|"Hand Work" 1993 clay 12" x 7.5" x 8.5"|
Clearly the abstraction is not complete. There are representational references, not least of which is the three dimensional modeling of the shapes, suggesting that they are not simply shapes, but things, and things have names. The human mind giddily imposes meaning on everything it absorbs. In some of the paintings I see trees and leaves, hills and waterways, and bits of architecture as if they were aerial landscapes or maps.
The reference to landscape is at times unmistakable. But they don't strike me as just any kind of map or scene, mere depictions of a place, but maps as interpretive illustration, depicting journeys or histories. Some even use the imagery of lures and bobbers to accompany the occasional fish like forms that hover cloud-like overhead, lending the pieces even more specificity to their potential interpretation. And yet they remain inscrutably, mysteriously abstract.
Some of her work is organized quite differently, suggesting a kind of arranged presentation, a still life perhaps, but still grounded in a story, like Marsden Hartley's famous "Portrait of a German Officer". The fact that they are titled "Stories off the Hip" gives me hope that my narrative reaction to the work is not so far off base. Some of her older sculptural work is more obviously representational but somehow less narrative and more purely visual. But there is a definite visual consistency between them and the paintings.
I may be way off base about the whole narrative issue but it hardly matters. At any rate, artistic intent isn't everything. Skill and a practiced hand can lead artists to accomplish things beyond their ideas, and preconception can be a restraint on creative potential. At the very least these are a hell of a lot of fun to look at. I'm looking forward to doing so in person very soon.