"True Lines" Group Show
August 22, 2020 / September 20, 2020
Open by appointment only.
Lines create the potential for mystery – they delineate, circumscribe, overlap, separate. Like runes, they are heavy with meaning. Each conceives a new form, a new space, in turn offering a distinct spiritual experience. True Lines presents a collection of abstract paintings by artists employing line as a means of meditation on form, symbolism, and the lived experience. Rejecting the Formalist dismissal of reference and emotional expression, Trudy Benson, Rico Gatson, Tracy Thomason, and Russell Tyler, create abstract compositions in a pulsating, spiritual, and sometimes allegorical fashion, overlapping and layering meaning through abstract symbols and pregnant forms.
Trudy Benson’s paintings are about materiality as much as they are about imagery. The viewer is offered a legible and maximal first read of the paintings with the material and process revealing themselves as they draw nearer. Benson creates depth and indicates process by layering and varying paint application – inspired by the effects of cut-paper collage. Thinking takes place on the surface of the canvas, and decisions are apparent with confident lines dominating the foreground. The paintings are maximal, expressive, and tangible – meditating between material, line, surface, and depth.
Rico Gaston’s work straddles formalist abstraction and social commentary. Gatson’s paintings in the exhibition are each divided into equal and unifying quadrants by implied lines. In two of the works an X is formed on the picture plane – the integration of which is by design both passive and active – representing danger, death, transformation and virtue. A third painting is divided with single central horizontal and vertical lines creating a cross, with a circular layout of colorful geometric shapes in black, white, red, orange, yellow and green radiating concentric rings from the center outward. The layout is reminiscent of the cross hairs of a gun scope or a target. In these works, Gatson seeks to illuminate specific aspects of the African American experience and history while, also balancing the unconscious realms, meditation and spirituality.
Tracy Thomason’s marks fluctuate between the quick stabs of stone carving tools, knife slices, and the gentle insistence of a powdery drawn line. Sculpted abstract glyphs are applied in meditation, pulling the works out of abstraction and a new language of form and symbols of off-primary colors. Thomason’s works are created with paint and marble dust hand-mixed into a clay-like material that is carefully applied to linen surfaces with both brushes and surgical blades. Drawing attention to the relationship between forms and negative space, Thomason creates shapes and lines that reference the female body or spiritual landscapes.
Russell Tyler’s abstract landscapes similarly hint at unconscious realms, spirituality, and the 1970s sci-fi conceptualization of Utopia. Ranging from pure geometric forms to the repetition of organic, amoeba-like lines in bright pops of color, Tyler plays off the language of formal abstraction. He paints from memory creating psychological landscapes that reconstruct mountains, horizons and hues, embodying atmosphere and an energy of equilibrium.
Featuring Trudy Benson, Rico Gatson, Tracy Thomason, and Russell Tyler.