Monday, July 13, 2009

Review of Lux Show!

A lovely review of my work by L. Kent Wolgamott in the Journal Star in Lincoln Nebraska.

Two very different shows are on view at the Lux Center for the Arts this month. One is a hyperkinetic playroom that utilizes video, microcomputers, tiny clay figures and a green inflated ball, the other is a study of color in stripes done in encaustic on panel.

That they have nothing in common is what makes the combination of Jamie Burmeister’s “Needle in Cotton” and Daniella Woolf’s “The Audacity of Stripes” work well together — the entertaining action of Burmeister’s installation playing off against the soothing, quiet grace of Woolf’s tightly assembled wax paintings.

Woolf, a California artist, is one of the country’s leading proponents of encaustic art, which is enjoying a comeback of sorts and was the subject of an instructive exhibition at the Haydon Art Center earlier this year. Woolf’s exhibition is just what the title says, a group of works all about “The Audacity of Stripes.”

The stripes in all the pieces save two are individual strips of rectangular panel covered with pigmented wax. Those panels are attached to each other, creating rectangles, some strongly horizontal, others vertical. Each of the pieces explores color, either in contrast, combination or commonality.

“Vernazza” and “Vernazza 2” are variations on blue, some light and some dark, a patterning that can also be seen in “Monterosso” which alternates stripes in various shades of red. In contrast, “Her Favorite Combo” is an exploration of a very light blue. But the most interesting of the multipaneled works is a pair that is assembled to resemble landscapes, “Landscape DeLux” and the striking “Sunset Landscape,” which looks like a traditional sunset but falls apart with the stripes.

The two pieces that don’t use the small panels are “Wing 2” and “Wing 3,” a pair of triangular boxes that extend from the wall, each covered with light green wax. Moving in opposite directions with slight variations in the surface color, “Wing 2” and “Wing 3” work as stripes against the background of the wall — a pair that continues the exhibition’s theme while adding eye-pleasing variety.

Woolf’s pieces are technically impressive and offer strong examples of the visual power of stripes, providing a resonance of sorts with the stripes we encounter every day.

Like Burmeister’s exhibition, it succeeds on its own terms but it works even better viewed before or after his noisy installation — a pair of unrelated shows that demonstrate something of the breadth and variety of contemporary art.

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