You know abstract painting, right? Its creation is too often a cheap default for people not invested enough to learn the skills more obviously required for representational work. (Operative phrase: more obviously.) Just as, in literary forms, poetry is too often a cheap default for people not invested enough to take the time and effort more obviously required for longer or narrative work.
Well. "Abstraction: Take 3" at Davis Gallery comprises work by Steve Redman and Chun Hui Pak and Sydney Yeager, and it's like finding three volumes of brilliant, invigorating poetry mysteriously sitting on your doorstep when you leave for work in the morning. There's no cheap default here; there are masters, exemplifying what's best about their chosen area of expression.
Redman is constructing images where the various shapes and colors and textures balance each other in static choreography; if painted abstractions were perforce abstracted from something specific in the real world, we'd suppose these were derived from landscapes or aerial photography. Pak's paintings are astonishing feats of kaleidoscopic color, as if some origami master became obsessed with rendering the entire Pantone Matching System through paper folding, and then hired Pak to capture them with sublime precision in oils on canvas. Yeager's working an area of abstraction where you wish her oil renderings were available as wearable, 3-D versions of themselves, fashioned from shards and curls of gold and copper and other precious metals for adorning your body. So many of the artist's vivid pieces seem like Cartier hired Frank Stella to design a set of necklaces and armbands for Lady Gaga to accept Grammy awards in; they're as gorgeous as they are striking, is what we mean, a rhythmic joining of disparate parts.
This show itself is a rather rhythmic joining of three disparate bodies of work, creating a compelling harmony of color and pattern against the elegant walls of Davis Gallery.
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