It would be hard to imagine three artists who are more simpatico and yet distinct. Emily Berger, Claire Seidl and Mark Wethli are presenting an exhibition of recent work at The Painting Center through April 19, 2014. Berger and Seidl occupy the main space, with their works mingling together, and Wethli occupies the project space in the back. The intimacy of the Painting Center space is perfectly suited to the modest scale and subtle materiality of the works in this show.
The three artists are unified by their discerning approaches to materials, and by the understated nature and expansive implications of their respective programs. Each in her/his own way creates what Agnes Martin referred to as a "plane of awareness' -- an undifferentiated space in which the formal and material elements of the work coalesce, inviting us to a heightened attention to our own place in the world.
Emily Berger & Claire Seidl, installation view, The Painting Center (image from gallery website)
Emily Berger works in oil on wood panels, creating gently modulating striated spaces. Her surfaces are worked and scraped to form vertical fissures and textures that subtly intersect the sweeping horizontal gestures. Employing close-valued grays, browns, blacks, the graceful curves form an intuitive natural rhythm and a slightly volumetric translucence, pulling the viewer into a world of constantly shifting sensation. More on her work HERE.
Emily Berger, Untitled, 2013, 24 x 20 inches, oil on wood panel (image from artist's website)
Emily Berger, Untitled, 2013, 26 x 22 inches, oil on wood panel (image from artist's website)
Emily Berger, Untitled, 2014, 24 x 20 inches, oil on wood panel (image from artist's website)
Claire Seidl works in oil on nubby linen with a kind of all-over compositional approach. The deep saturation of her color is elaborated by the deep sensuality of her material, as the luscious oil is massaged, scraped and pressed into the linen creating a pervasive tension between surface and color. Her configurations evolve out of this process -- organic amalgams of lines and shapes that vibrate and absorb into the resonance of the whole.
Claire Seidl, On the Up and Up, 2013, 54 x 42 inches, oil on linen (image from artist's website)
Claire Seidl, The Likes of Me, 2013, 54 x 42 inches, oil on linen (image from artist's website)
Claire Seidl, In a Heartbeat, 2013, 20 x 14 inches, oil on linen (image from artist's website)
Mark Wethli's group of small works on paper begin, as do his larger paintings, with an activated ground -- in this case, a delicate grid of woven paper. Working with the saturated hues and matte surface of Flashé paint, he responds to the grid and the edges of the paper to locate groups of lines and rectangles in deceptively simple dialogues. Each piece contains some little surprise -- a slightly skewed angle, an oddly offset shape -- tiny slippages that pull us in and remind us of the endless possibilities before us, and the contingent nature reality. More on his work HERE.
Mark Wethli, Alloy, 2014, 10 x 8 inches, Flashé on woven Jaipur paper (image from artist's website)
Mark Wethli, Ticket to Cologne, 2014, 10 x 8 inches, Flashé on woven Jaipur paper (image from artist's website)