Abstracting Our Spaces

Abstracting Our Spaces

Lohin-Geduld Gallery hosts group show of painters adding metaphor to notions of space

Megan Bisbee uses hot tropical colors to riveting effect in “Metaphorical Mid-day Apartment.”

With the advent of summer come the gallery group shows with written statements that would make the puffery of the fashion industry blush.

Thankfully, the concept at Lohin-Geduld is pretty straightforward. How do four painters interact with the metaphorical idea of place, and how does each painter use a method or process of abstraction to veer off in their own direction?

Martha Diamond is the most established of the painters presented here, with a 30-year-plus career behind her. Masterly rich paintwork is thoroughly evident in three small paintings where fleshy skyscraper frameworks wither about like Van Gogh’s cypress trees.

Unfortunately, a looser structure and a brighter coloration cannot counterbalance parsimonious paint handling in the large “Cityscape with Transparent Orange.” I’m sure she can afford the paint, so why go all skimpy on a four-foot by eight-foot canvas? Isn’t this the time to be expansive and give us the juice?

Megan Bisbee, the youngest painter in the show, zooms in and out of her created spaces, moving adroitly from tabletop and interior spatial interactions to deep landscape vistas. In “Metaphorical Mid-day Apartment,” she slides dangerously close to DIY decorative finishes, but all the hot, tropically flavored, pooled and poured colors make for a riveting piece. Bisbee’s two other offerings are not as visually surefooted or as tasty.

Josh Dorman constructs the surface that he paints on from antique maps and papers. This collage of topographical fragments allows Dorman to generate pop-up fantasy landscape elements in a William T. Wiley fashion. These are wonderful little dreams, sweetly painted, but the three works presented here get muscled aside by the more painterly dynamic work of Diamond, Bisbee and Richard Snyder.

Snyder takes his cues from Gerhard Richter by scraping, blotting, brushing, scrubbing and basically bullying his paint into a final image. This intensely physical paint handling is all about knowing when to stop, as his technique lends a real sense of lyricism to these small and medium-sized canvases. “Blue Dusk” is a true stand-out, with areas of scraped paint being balanced out by handsome brushwork and a glowing coloration.