Nobody wants to look at serious, turgid art in the summertime. Names of exhibitions echo the breeziness of the artwork shown, and Summer Light at dBerman Gallery is no exception.
Gallery assistant and curator Anastasia Budziszewski has done it right, serving up the kind of cheerful art we desire at this time of year — as you move from artist to artist throughout the show, the bright colors and distinct materials are decidedly upbeat. Summer Light has great flow.
Faith Gay has made some new polka dotted squares that show off her appreciation of contrasting colors and basic groovy-ness. She combines circles within the grid of a square and makes it look informal and fun. Her rich pallet is completed by a glossy resin shine. There is something about the cleanness of plastic, and Faith’s plastic is so gay that across the wall, Daphne Parks’ paintings on shaped paper come off a bit creepily. They could be seen as little topographical maps, but their minute lines instead reminded me to check for new varicose veins. Even their hot pink and purple color scheme led me to think of artist/singer Gina Volpe’s freaky wart-filled portraits.
I’ll drive across town to see the resin paintings of Kim Squaglia any day. They’re like unsalted butter, they’re so perfectly bubble-less. That’s why it’s real cute when she paints little tiny “o’s through the compositions. Squaglia takes glazing really, really, seriously. Sometimes when I see a painting with resin I think the artist doesn’t want to buy glass, or they are varnishing to hide inconsistent mediums. How nice to see delicate paintings that use the transparency of resin like it’s pure watercolor, letting the light shine through all those milky layers.
Liz Ward’s delicate watercolors are like monochromatic, lacy space fungus. Lance Letscher’s paper collages are approachable and comforting. His colors are the most demure of this chipper group, looking tanned and weathered but very complementary (appropriately so for the only male in the bunch). And Letscher’s manly blocks and stripes show a forthright appreciation of basic abstraction.
More mercurial to me was Hillevi Baar’s work. I admire a woman who apparently can draw wallpaper until the cows come home. Her filigree patterns make me think of Dutch fineries, and there is a pleasant absence of figuration in her work. She demonstrates a keenness for transparency, shadows and lighting by drawing her Muslim tirades on billowing mylar. They are translucent half-sculptures, casting intricate shadows. I say, let the summer light shine!
Rachel Koper is an artist and writer living in Austin.