Dedicated to covering the visual arts community in Connecticut.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Complementary work at City Gallery, one viewing day left

City Gallery
994 State St., New Haven, (203) 782-2489
Roberta Friedman & Kathy Kane: New Members, New Work
Through Jan. 30, 2011.

This show is only up through tomorrow (Sun., Jan. 30) from noon—4 p.m. but it is worth dropping by to check out.

Roberta Friedman’s first medium was watercolor. But in recent years, Friedman has enriched her compositional technique by melding her watercolors with collage. Friedman’s subject is landscape albeit with a highly personal vision. Responding to the natural layering of landscape, Friedman crafts complex abstract compositions that suggest nature as a seething web ofvisual and tactile pleasure.

To this end, Friedman not only layers torn strips of painted watercolor paper but also fibrous handmade paper, seaweed, found strips of bark and lichen and even thin pieces of rusted metal. With “Glacial Plain” and “Glacial Shift,” outcroppings of brown and gray rock—represented by bark, rusted metal and distressed painted paper—appear mineral-veined and sparkle like mica in the sun. In each, the rock is set amid a frozen sea of washed-out blue green puckering like frozen crystals, the snow and ice reflecting the tundra gray of the sky.

The works of Friedman and Kathy Kane complement each other well. Where Friedman’s compositions are characterized by jagged, uneven or flowing natural forms, Kane’s acrylic paintings on panel favor strongly delineated geometric shapes.

But Kane uses a lot of underpainting and also dilutes her acrylic colors to achieve a liquid wash. “Fields” is, on the one hand, striking for its two rectangular fields of color—yellow and red. On the other hand, “Fields”—as with most of Kane’s other paintings—is notable for the energy that surges through both blocks of color because the darker underpainting shows through Kane’s lively brush strokes.

The energy of those brush strokes—the sense of seething natural processes—is a point of connection with Friedman’s turbulent natural forms and textures.

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