Twofer! Pattern as Space: Monica Vidal and Melissa Thorne

Melissa Thorne, A Wall Around a Window (installation view), 2013, courtesy Devin Borden Gallery
Melissa Thorne, A Wall Around a Window (installation view), 2013. Courtesy Devin Borden Gallery

Melissa Thorne’s A Wall Around a Window is a large-scale painting installation at Devin Borden Gallery. On two facing gallery walls, Thorne paints slightly different meticulous brick patterns in soft washes of acrylic (one wall is blue/green, the other a light pink/red). On these walls are rows of paintings that mix up patterns from faux bois to window shades to bricks and tiles done in a specific and eccentric palette. The pink wall uses a row of paintings all in the same proportion to work with the old idea of painting as window. Thorne actually based many of the mixed up patterns on boarded up windows she saw in upstate New York. Hanging between these painting installations is a work screen printed on fabric. It is a basic grid of grey on blue that recedes to give the feeling of deep space. It is surprising to approach because the fabric looks flat like a painting and only slightly folds and buckles. A small yellow stool suggests that it is a view for seated contemplation, like looking out a bay window.

Melissa Thorne, A Wall Around a Window (installation view), 2013
Melissa Thorne, A Wall Around a Window (installation view), 2013
Monica Vidal, Falling Hive, 2013
Monica Vidal, Falling Hive, 2013

Similarly entrenched in the world of pattern, Monica Vidal’s Falling exhibition at Art League Houston presents a suite of drawings, prints, and a large installation of a spiky, mountainous tent called Falling Hive. The installation is inspired by Vidal’s childhood dream of an arctic “world saturated in blue.” The tent is well executed and precise and, surprisingly, you can walk underneath its canopy to be immersed. I liked how the corresponding prints and drawings brought up other connotations for the installation—a swirling sea of waves or a medieval carnival tent with little flags.

Monica Vidal, Falling Hive Study, 2013
Monica Vidal, Falling Hive Study, 2013

Hurry! Monica Vidal Falling is on view at the Art League Houston through January 4, 2014. Melissa Thorne’s A Wall Around a Window is on view at Devin Borden Gallery through December 21.

also by Joshua Fischer

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