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Art Review: Artistic spectrum in 'Devise and Evolve' exhibition at Brand Library

June 09, 2010|By Terri Martin

The range of artistic expression in the exhibition "Devise and Evolve" at the Brand Library is immediately visible. From explosions of color in paintings by Mary Addison Hackett to color management in Janet Bothne's two-piece diptych paintings; in minimalist sculpture by Alice Clements to abstract sculptural inventions of Julie Schustack, contrast defines the theme.

Hackett exposes herself artistically with no pretense. Her work cannot be confined by the "isms" that define artistic movements, because she crosses disciplines fearlessly with the genuineness of movement makers like Arshile Gorky and Willem de Kooning, icons of modern art. Abstract Expressionism (nonobjective art), in which artists seek to allow the unconscious to be expressed, is her strength.

At the end of the entry hall, the outside gallery wall is plastered with Hackett's work. In "Linking Room," the artist uses a color palette that de Kooning would envy. Glass-like panels shatter across the canvas, giving a Cubist depth of field. Hackett layers color, line and texture, resulting in illusions for viewers to ponder. It is nonobjective, without recognizable forms, just action and expression of the artist's busy brain.

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Hackett's unfettered use of color and texture is contrasted by Bothne's taming of it. Two-piece (diptych) canvases stabilize the vibrant colorful acrylics, spectacularly blended, and reflected from one canvas of the diptych to the other. Mostly horizontal, volatile striations of complementary color are interrupted by the space between the two canvases.

Bothne implies that this could represent the interruptions that occur in life. The back wall of the gallery is uniformly lined with Bothne's diptychs that are striking, varied and lyrical, yet stable within their structures, like great movements of music.

A couple of her paintings detour from the formula. In "Hopes of Homem," the artist's "interruption" idea is presented as a milky cloud that hides the clarity of the horizontal striations.

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