Dedicated to covering the visual arts community in Connecticut.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Three artist show at City Gallery

City Gallery
994 State St., New Haven, (203) 782-2489
City Gallery Welcomes New Member Judy Atlas
June 29—July 29, 2007.

Three members of the City Gallery collaborative are showing this month, including newest member Judy Atlas. (I profiled Atlas during City-Wide Open Studios last fall.) Atlas features four works from each of two different outlets for her creative expression. Created through multiple printings, her monotypes use inked mesh rope as a vehicle to define lines, suggest the illusion of depth and generate a sense of motion.

In the works "Entangled I" and "Entangled x 4," the rope lines registered with me as strands of DNA gone haywire. In "Entangled II," I saw in the earth tone colors and sandstone textures ancient fossils of worms. They appeared just slightly off-register, as in a 3-D image viewed without the special glasses.

Her watercolor abstractions saturate the paper with color. Not for Atlas the wispy translucence that some watercolorists favor. Her brush is loaded up with color. Sometimes, as in "," she uses a brush approach so dry that the line almost looks like she used a crayon. But while she pushes to the limits of opacity, she tactically allows her colors to bleed, most effectively in "From Up High" and the beautiful, dark "In the Distance."

Connie Pfeiffer
's recent work, according to her artist statement, "draws on the process of building and dismantling protective layers and questions our perceptions of why they are needed. What intuitive choices are made to conceal some elements while exposing others?" Three of her works layer "expanded metal"—it looks like tattered fine mesh screen—over strips of paper marked with acrylic paint (actually more stained than marked). In each case the screen opens down the middle, on the vertical, allowing the viewer to glimpse the paper unfiltered.

Her other piece, "Continuous Flow," consists of a baker's dozen of 2" x 6" strips of copper mounted end to end in a tall vertical line. Each strip has been cut and stretched in the center to create an opening rather suggestive, at least to me, of a vulva form. Looked at from the side, though, the piece reads as a series of gently rolling waves.

Jefri Ruchti's charcoal drawings on Japanese washi paper are of a piece with works he exhibited at the gallery last January. Although these are abstractions, I see exotic landscapes: meandering pathways through hills and valleys, open plains and dark woods. These vistas are defined with very fine ink lines but refined and brought to life with the darting soft pointillism of the charcoal.

Displayed in series, the panels flow one to the other but not necessarily smoothly. There is sometimes a disjuncture between one and the next, setting perception slightly off kilter and inviting the viewer to make the leap.


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