A quote from Virginia Woolf’s landmark novel “To the Lighthouse” was chosen by the co-owners of Edgartown’s Winter Street Gallery as the theme for its final show of the season.
In the modernist novel, Woolf describes an artist’s discovery while executing a portrait, writing “Beneath the color was the shape.”
“I thought it [the quote] was a very fitting title,” says Ingrid Lundgren, who, along with partner George Newall, established the contemporary art gallery four years ago. “It highlights some of the elements in the work and their creation.”
“What I thought about in putting these artists together was seeing how they explore essential impulses, color, and shape through painting technique and sculpture. It creates a really vibrant dialogue between the artists.”
The exhibit spotlights the work of four artists — sculptor Mark Handforth and painters Chelsea Culprit, Marcus Jahmal, and Julia Jo — each of whom works in a very different, yet complementary style to the other three.
A press release for the show expands on the connection among the four: “Through color blocking, monochrome palettes, and intricate layering, the compositions explore themes of performance, movement, the human form, and abstraction.”
Taking center stage in the exhibit is an installation featuring two very large tubular sculptures by Handforth. Fittingly, these tall, upright aluminum and polyurethane pieces draw as much interest from shape as from color. Shades of red, purple, and orange dissolve seamlessly in the pieces from top to bottom, integrating bright hues in juxtaposition with dense, dark shades, while a gentle curve to each piece imparts a sense of graceful motion.
Sculptural pieces by the New York– and Miami-based artist have been described as “drawing on the legacies of Surrealism and Dadaist absurdism,” and “displacing quotidian objects and recontextualizing their forms in unexpected articulations.” Handforth has shown his work in art institutions in Italy and around the U.S.
Whether working in shades of gray or in bright colors, Chelsea Culprit’s acrylic and oil paintings evoke, in a fully abstracted manner, the movement and gestures of the human form. According to a press release for the exhibit, Culprit’s work “explores gender performance and the performance of gender in the labor market.” The painter and sculptor splits her time between Mexico City and New York City, where her work has been shown in various galleries.
Julia Jo is represented by a single painting titled “Invite,” done in oil on linen. Alternating dark and light shades, Jo has created a dancing whirlwind of form and color. The Brooklyn-based artist, who was born in Seoul, South Korea, is known for combining the abstract with the figural. A description of her inspiration states, “Her paintings are grounded in the self-doubt, conflict, and misunderstanding that can subsume any relationship, with human forms and familiar objects dynamically rendered through careful line, color, and shadow to simultaneously reveal and conceal.”
Marcus Jahmal’s oil and acrylic paintings contrast with the work by the three other artists in their focus on demarcated lines and geometric shapes. An especially interesting painting, done in oil on wood panel, features a headless body holding a human skull in its outstretched hand. The painting combines elements of cubism and color field painting, with sections of deep blue and mustard yellow defining the work.
Jahmal, who was raised in Brooklyn, where he still lives and works, has exhibited widely in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, and currently has a solo gallery exhibition at Anton Kern Gallery in New York. His paintings are described as “synthesizing a diverse range of inspirations and autobiography, drawing from photographs, ancient rituals, and personal memories.”
The last exhibit for the season, “beneath the color there was the shape,” at the Winter Street Gallery in Edgartown, runs through Oct. 8. Owners Lundgren and Newall will exhibit works by a number of artists in their orbit in Paris for the month of November. For more information, visit winterstreetgallery.com.