Nine artists explore abstraction at Louisa Gould Gallery

"Rouge Triptych" by Charyl Weissbach. — Art by Charyl Weissbach

Louisa Gould Gallery opens its seventh annual abstract show on Friday, August 29, with the work of nine women. They are Tracy Spadafora, Susan Morosky, Cheryl Clinton, Linda Cordner, Charyl Weissbach, Kellie Weeks, Kay Hartung, Laura Roosevelt, and Roberta Gross. A reception for the artists will launch the show on Saturday, August 30, from 5 to 7 pm.

Ms. Spadafora has on exhibit a series of three constructions, all named “Vestiges.” Already known for her encaustic (hot beeswax with color pigments) work, she constructs boxes and decorates them with mixed media in “Vestige (Part 1).” The four boxes look like small towers with floral vegetation and miniature tubes on the bottom and vertical black-and-white scripts in what looks like handwriting on the top. Color is kept to a minimum. “The layering, obscuring, deconstructing and preserving of images helps me address a complex and shifting relationship between man, his biological roots, and the shaping of our natural environment,” she says.

Ms. Morosky celebrates color in compositions that demonstrate considerable variety in composition. “Blue Shallows” is a 12- by 48-inch work that combines shades of blue with touches of green and dark red in lively swirls. The artist works almost exclusively in shades of blue for “Coast Winds I and II” to create a very different effect. Layering, adding, and removing paint from the canvas add depth and subtlety to these compositions.

Ms. Clinton describes her photo transfers with acrylic as “a developing story…part autobiography with a dash of Grimm’s fairy tales around the edges.” This artist evokes a surprising number of moods and seasons in her work, from the winter feel of “Walking 6” to the stormy sense of “Flooded Brook Combo.”

Linda Cordner’s encaustic on board paintings express a dreaminess through muted palettes, as in the soft blues of “Still Water” and the more cerebral “Striation.” She likes to layer her paintings and preserve accidental traces of drips and blurs.

Boston-based Ms. Weissbach’s work demonstrates two very different styles. In some, her encaustics on Belgian linen, she creates a sense of graphic design through patterns of flowers and leaves or trees. In Metalscapes – Lavender, executed in encaustic, resin, and metal on panel, she hones down her composition to a minimalist evocation of color and form. The Balsam Poplar Series is based on a tree in the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University.

Ms. Weeks employs her vibrant sense of color with pigment sticks and encaustic in works such as Fragments of Illumination. Intermittent is particularly striking in its use of texture to evoke what might or might not be a crescent-shaped shoreline. She describes her work as illuminating “the human spirit and the journey it is on.”

Ms. Hartung, who works with encaustic mixed media, says, “I have been looking at electron microscope photographs and am inspired by the abstract organic shapes and intense colors of this hidden world. I imagine the energy and interactions that go on in my body and the mind to produce action and thought.” Her egg-like shapes in the abstract sculpture “3 Orbs” are rich in color. Encaustic mixed media such as “Microcell 11” share vibrant color with a delightful sense of form.

Ms. Gross, who divides her time between Philadelphia and Aquinnah, suspends mysterious, cloud-like forms in a geometric background in “Spring Orchard,” while texture unites a pale aqua background with an amorphous white shape in the foreground in “Seafoam.” Ms. Gross curated the show and experimented with burning Tyvek, a synthetic substance used by builders.

West Tisbury resident Ms. Roosevelt explores the shapes and distortions made by water in her abstract photographs.

Part of the pleasure of the Louisa Gould Gallery’s Abstract Vision show is the variety permitted by exhibiting so many different artists.

Abstract Vision: The Colors and Forms Behind the Everyday, opening reception, 5–7 pm, Saturday, August 30, Louisa Gould Gallery, Vineyard Haven. Show runs through September 18.

Curator’s Talk with Roberta Gross, 5 pm, Friday, Sept. 5.

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