Penetrating narratives abound in the exhibition Modalities of Expression, where there is no shortage of innovation or vitality. Realistic, surreal, impressionistic, abstract, and conceptual, and spanning a vast array of materials, processes, and techniques, these masterful works communicate distinct, astounding aesthetic experiences abundant in spirit and humanity. Through elements of fantastic experimentation, the gifted artists spotlighted here employ tremendous faculties of expression by creating their own unique worlds both in dynamic connection and contradiction to the expanse of the world as we know it.
Combining a close attention to line and form with a “graffiti” approach to painting in his canvas work, Kwesi Bovell creates dynamic pieces in a style reminiscent of Warhol’s Pop Art of the early 1960s, but w makes his work so unique is the cross-cultural perspective he infuses into the works his native Guyana and memories from his extensive travels. Sweden-based painter Jan Kotka also creates landscapes from exhilarating experiences around the world. With influence from realism, Impressionism, and early Expressionism, he doesn’t just recreate the world, but he creates new ones all of his own. In juxtaposition, James Chisholm’s oil and watercolor paintings, most often done en plein air, focus on capturing the unique beauty of his native New England’s breathtaking natural terrain.
Other artists create more experimental works that depict places unknown. George Pavel views his work as a reflection on the nature of the universe and the spirituality of humankind, and his sculptures truly look like an expression of the building blocks of the cosmos and the transformative power of nature. Each of Alexander Telin’s works reveals the unexpected aspect of familiar images, in a tantalizing exploration of the human and fantastical world.
In her paintings, Nora Maceratesi focuses on spaces that normally escape our attention, giving bridges, roads, and passageways a life of their own. The results recall the photographs of Atget or Abbott. Björn Malm also uses things often overlooked with his signature technique, which involves applying his paint directly to bodies, and using them as prints on his canvas, taking advantage of beards and breasts, among other body parts, to make bold graphic patterns. A keen observer of the world around her, Lorraine McInnes turns her observations into studies of what lies beneath the surface. “I want the viewer to look at my work and feel the emotion of it,” she notes.
Chris Silver’s oil paintings combine several styles, creating a distinctive brand of portraiture that is fused with emotional energy. “I am very interested in the emotional quality of color,” Silver says, “so I tend to vent my anxieties into my paintings and try to get across a vague mood and atmosphere.” With her stylish, contemporary portraits of women CORDERO’s also uses the human subject to confront the viewer: portraits that stare directly outward, with their enigmatic, complex eyes and gazes creating a subliminal dialogue.
Sculptor and painter Annita Faitaki, born on the island of Crete, brings the classical world into the modern era, giving her pieces a sense of timelessness while also provoking the viewer with modern issues. She describes her process as one of manifestation: the search for an unknown world waiting to be discovered. Turkish artist Şebnem Keçeli also explores the idea of transformation in her multifaceted, sensuous sculptures. Each piece portrays a moment seeming mid-shift, just at the point of one form dissolving into another.
In Michael McWillie’s paintings and prints, a whimsical spirit is joined with a sharp visual style. “My paintings and prints are intended to take the viewer to a place of innocence, wonder and awe,” he says, “while exploring the mysteries of composition, texture and color.” In comparison, artist Marlene Kohn creates large geometric patterns that contain an incredible amount of smaller moving parts. The bright colors and bold lines are accessible, but her subtle changes in mark-making cause the composition to ripple and quake.
Wallace’s recent work, which consists primarily of repurposed vintage postcards from 1920s and 1930s Belgium and France, makes use of both image and text, resulting in a photographic print that reimagines history without overtly altering the source material. Despite the aesthetic differences, though, a closer examination will unearth love letters anchoring the bureaucratic pieces, revealing the humanity that penetrates ordered systems and wins out in the end, despite mankind’s best efforts. American artist Phoebe Webb uses the unique practice of observing changes in light and color through prismatic glass, and as a result, many of her paintings reflect an ethereal and heterogeneous quality. Despite a variety in subject matter, Webb’s paintings share a deeply sensuous nature.