Martha Bone and Janice Caswell: Two Solo Shows at Garrison Art Center

A painting of a snake

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Martha Bone, Mapping the Invisible #3, 2020, acrylic, aluminum enamel, charcoal, joint compound, pastel on pieced paper, 63 x 88 in., photo courtesy of the artist.

Two artists currently showing at Garrison Art Center use scale, structure, and geometry to examine and reinterpret their respective environments. Martha Bone’s large-scale paintings and assemblages express a sweeping view of the cosmos, bringing the macrocosm within our reach, while Janice Caswell’s small-scale sculptures find the infinite within the microcosm, showing us the vast potential in all forms. Both Bone and Caswell photograph their natural and man-made landscapes, later referring to these images when creating their works. And both artists construct their forms as improvisations inspired by their observations, although neither artist is interested in a literal interpretation of nature. But this is where the similarities end, their distinctive styles diverging toward an expansive contemplation of form and space and an intimate exploration of the fabricated structures that inhabit our lives.

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The Interaction of Light and Shadow: Susan English at Kathryn Markel

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Susan English, Still Light, 2022, tinted polymer on Dibond panel, 34 x 35 in. Courtesy of Kathryn Markel Fine Arts

To confront a person with their own shadow is to show them their own light.

– Carl Jung

In her current exhibition at Kathryn Markel Fine Arts, Light to Light, Susan English explores the vagaries of light as it penetrates layers of polymer and pigment. Subtle gradations in color are infused with radiant light, recalling the sfumato in Van Eyck’s translucent skies or Cimabue’s blushing Virgins. The seamless transitions are achieved through the artist’s unorthodox technique of pouring thin layers of tinted polymer onto panels, then tilting the panels while the pigments settle and dry. The multiple layers interact with light to create varying effects – sometimes luminous, sometimes opaque – which are punctuated by cracks and blemishes in the medium as it dries. These accidents are essential to the piece, as they provide a counterbalance to the exquisite surfaces and tight control of their execution. Indeed, English manipulates the panel in such a way that crackling is anticipated, and she views the result as a simulation of the fissures and fractures found in nature.

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