To Be Or Not To Be?
By Jane A. Black
I loathe writing about exhibitions I haven’t yet seen, and rarely
do. How artwork is presented matters. The feel of the room, the lighting and spacing; and the relationships of color, form and content that occur as you walk from one piece and encounter the next; these elements greatly affect how I see the work. Undoubtedly, truly great art can overcome almost any impediment. It will shine through grime or chaos with a presence that is unmistakable. But when you take that piece into a great setting – well, it will defy words and knock you off
So, this column is definitely an anomaly. It’s about the side-by-side solo shows opening Friday, August 6 at Gallery 510 in the Oregon Arts District. I’m intrigued by the pairing of two artists, Amy Kollar Anderson and Bridgette Bogle, whose work I know quite well.
I talked with gallery owner/artist Loretta Puncer, who wisely suggested the artists talk about their own work; Amy and Bridgette are both incredibly articulate. While Loretta tends to step out of the limelight, one of the reasons I feel confident in recommending this show is that she is dedicated to creating respectful exhibitions of local art. And I like that Loretta features at least one new artist every First Friday and is always looking for new artists to add to the 24 she represents. I know I can count on a nice presentation when I visit her space, and as I said, it’s a really interesting pairing.
Amy has named her show “The Laboratory,” encompassing various bodies of work that illustrate her fascination with science and pseudo-science. “My work uses the beauty of color and ornamentation to entice the viewer to explore an image that they might normally
Bridgette has named her show “Color Extend” (from the text on a bottle of hair conditioner), and it’s also a compendium of various bodies of work. Her series depict mundane subject matter (beer bottles, clouds, damask patterns) in vivid color, which “has an enlivening presence in all the work – hopefully invigorating that which goes unnoticed … becoming more the subject of the work than the original inspiration.”
Both Bridgette and Amy are dedicated painters. When I ask what’s new, I learn how a body of work I know is evolving or am delighted to hear about a new strand that is developing. The one thing that really defines an artist, in my opinion, is putting in the studio time. They share this characteristic, as well as a truly of-the-moment aesthetic, and, as Amy put it, “Both Bridgette and I focus heavily on color and patterning in our work … we both play with unconventional colors like metallics and neons, then pair them next to contrasting patterns to increase the intensity of both.”
But, as you can see from the images, the glaring difference is white space, an intrinsic element in art, by inclusion or omission. I’m drawn into a comparison, seeing so much, and none. I examine the importance of gesture and line in Bridgette’s paintings that are as direct and fresh and personal as drawings. I marvel at the amazing spatial relationships that run ever deeper in Amy’s canvases, as one highly detailed passage smacks up against the next. I walk back and forth and feel the difference -in my head, of course. That’s why I can’t wait to see the show.
You can also see one each of Amy’s and Bridgette’s paintings at the Dayton Visual Arts Center through Thursday, August 19 in “Darkness: The 19th Annual Open Members’ Show,” which is open until 8 p.m. on First Friday (August 6) and features 5-minute, back-to-back gallery talks by some of the 172 artists in the show, starting at 5:30 p.m. I’m happy to count these two fine local artists among our longtime,
Jane A. Black is a fiber artist and the executive director of the Dayton Visual Arts Center. Visit the gallery at 118 N. Jefferson St. or the Web site at www.DaytonVisualArts.org. Follow her on www.Twitter.com at lookingabout. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org