December 23, 2012

Art Review: Paint – thick and fresh – and two young artists to watch

By DANIEL KANY

(Continued from page 1)

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“Orchard #4” by Jonathan Blatchford.

Courtesy of Aucocisco Galleries

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“Orchard #14” by Jonathan Blatchford.

Courtesy of Aucocisco Galleries

Additional Photos Below

ART REVIEW

PAINTINGS BY JONATHAN BLATCHFORD AND SHIRAH NEUMANN

WHERE: Aucocisco Galleries, 89 Exchange St., Portland

WHEN: Through Dec. 29

HOURS: Noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday and by appointment

INFO: 775-2222; aucocisco.com

Many of Neumann's paintings combine flat-screen forms (think Arab miniature and/or old Maine radiator covers) with an odd rectangular form that clearly has special significance to the artist, like some form of visual mantra. Rather than appearing as an indecipherable rebus, it takes the form of a personal, mystical device; less anchor than launching point, it plays the part of fulcrum in many of her paintings.

Neumann's paintings are bold, and manifest an unusually original sensibility. She loves paint, but she isn't a slave to it. She is willing to be very ugly sometimes to achieve painterly points about color, such as her oddly compelling "Red Sky," with its black pyramid and bile-green ground under a popping scarlet sky.

Her strongest works ride centered structures of triangles and lozenge forms, such as her large triple-mountain "Diamond Sky" and vertical "Double Barn," the latter with its purple interference palette chiseled like staring straight up the corner of a large, geometrical building (with that "Vision Sight" form once again dropped into the center).

Neumann's most appealing piece is her "Old Man of the Midnight Sea" -- a large, blue seascape with a 12-point geometrical form at the bottom, stiffly stylized trees and a swarming sea all around. It's like the sparkling rhythms of a choppy ocean rendered in a chromatic scale; like maybe if Claude Debussy got a little less romantic and a lot more funky.

This is an extremely enjoyable and interesting exhibition, but most exciting is the promise of two bold young painters.

They are two to watch. 

Freelance writer Daniel Kany is an art historian who lives in Cumberland. He can be contacted at:

dankany@gmail.com

 

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Additional Photos

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“Radiator (Eclipse)” by Shirah Neumann.

Jay York/Courtesy of Aucocisco Galleries

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“Clouds” by Shirah Neumann.

Jay York/Courtesy of Aucocisco Galleries

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“Old Man of the Midnight Sea” by Shirah Neumann.

Gabriella Sturchio/Courtesy of Aucocisco Galleries



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