Personal Statements in Just One Color

Personal Statements in Just One Color

Elizabeth Harris allows nine artists the freedom to have their own say

With the season coming to a close and the European art fairs under way, most of the galleries have already mounted summer group shows, which provide an opportunity for curators to, well… curate and galleries to put together collections of work by their artists.

Elizabeth Harris has assembled a collection under the rubric of “Mono-Chrome Image,” put together with Bill Carroll, the gallery’s director. The show includes work by nine artists. Each piece is of a single color or tones of that color. Thomas Weaver, Mary Beth Thielhelm and Susan Graham show photographic works. Thielhelm’s piece, “Celadon Sea,” is particularly affecting. It’s a photo, specifically a solar etching, of the sea’s surface, reminiscent of a drawing by Vija Celmins printed in tones of celadon green.

David Baskin has made an entire man’s outfit laid out piece-by-piece cast in bubble-gum pink, urethane rubber. Francis Cape has installed a slightly off-scale section of wainscoting painted a pale yellowish orange. John Monti’s piece called “Tangerine Smile” is just that, a rather exaggerated clown-type smile in pigmented rubber, fiberglassed foam and wood. It makes a rather popish statement in a minimalist manner.

Most startling here is Mary Carlson’s “Yellow Squid.” It is a giant squid crocheted in Naples yellow yarn and nearly twelve feet long. I had seen this piece before and seeing again was like seeing an old friend. It brings to mind early feminist art in that it uses the most household of materials. Even at that, it is a formidable task to have made it. The idea is just wacky enough to go beyond the obvious and is an exemplar of the way Carlson works. She is liable to do almost anything.

Another interesting artist who works in many ways in many media is Arlene Shechet. Here, she cast an image of Ganesha in translucent turquoise colored resin. Shechet also works in plaster, glass and cast paper and in other printing and casting techniques, always with a philosophical point of view, usually Buddhist.

Miriam Bloom shows a mysterious little polychromed terracotta gnomic creature, 20 inches high, called “Fool Thing.” It is a strange grayish purple.

All of the work in the show is self contained and provocative in a personal, contemplative way, expressive of an individual vision. It is a welcome break from the style of the moment exhibitions in most of the galleries.