Exhibition: Freedom and Form
Saturday: September 5th through Saturday: October 3rd, 2015
On Saturday, September 5, Oxford Gallery will open its 2015/2016 exhibition season with an exhibit entitled Freedom and Form. The exhibit features new paintings by Rochester artist, Phyllis Bryce Ely, and Buffalo artist, Todd Chalk.
The Gallery will hold an Artists' Reception on Saturday, September 12 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. The Reception is open to the public.
Phyllis Bryce Ely
In the historical debate between colore and disegno, there is little question where Phyllis Bryce Ely's sympathies might have lain. Although her paintings are beautifully - and boldly - colored, color itself is not intrinsic to the nature of the image. It is in line (disegno) that lives the energy of form. For Ely, as for many of her Modernist forebears, form is an extraction: a codification of what lies beneath. But what lies beneath is , for Ely, not so much an essential geometry as an essential energy. For this artist, nature is a seething, swirling explosion of energy. Sandy Over Lake Ontario, for example, is a naturalistic depiction neither of a lake nor of a hurricane. It is a depiction of natural energy unleashed in an aqueous ambiance. Even in her colorful depictions of Granada, history and landscape seem to race downward together in a torrent. Reduced to the level of energetic line, the inanimate becomes indistinguishable from the animate, nature from man, history from life.
At first look, Todd Chalk's colorful, abstract compositions bear little relation to the flowing lines of Phyllis Bryce Ely. But first looks are deceiving: for Chalk as for Ely, the act of finding form involves an extraction. It begins with close observation and an ability to differentiate between the essential and the incidental. In Chalk's compositions, overlapping planes substitute for spatial recession, giving the work depth and dimension. But form, in Chalks paintings, connotes not merely shape but color and texture as well. The artist experiments freely with surface textures: with things collaged onto - one might rather say 'absorbed into' - the paint. These never seem imposed or external. Like the brushstrokes themselves, they become an intrinsic element of the facture. But for Todd Chalk, composition always begins with an act of observation, and observation always begins with an act of decomposition.