Arts & Events

“Marked” offers elastic abstraction, mind-tripping images

In gallery information released concurrently with Kittredge Gallery’s most recent exhibition, “Marked”, curator and professor Elise Richman wrote: “Painting makes invisible thought visible. In painting, what you see is what you see and what it resembles.”

The work of each of the three exhibited artists, Susan Dory, Michelle Grabner and Margie Livingston, will remain until Feb. 26.

“Marked” is currently occupying Kittredge’s Large Gallery, and “Patterned Remarks: A Print Portfolio” (also wonderful) is taking up space in the Small Gallery.

The abstract works found in the former are profoundly introspective and the geometry of the marks is intended to, in turn, leave marks. The work of all three artists has been exhibited both nationally and internationally.

I was immediately struck by the work of Susan Dory, as her pieces fill much of the gallery space. Dory used tape to create the organic shapes squeezed into her paintings, filling them in with vivid pastel acrylics. The layers of paint make the figures feel elastic and intertwined; one is left with a strong sense of the closeness of the relationships between them.

Michelle Grabner’s work is reminiscent of those mind-tripping images you have to squint and stare at for a good 30 seconds before you see a picture of anything at all familiar. Although Grabner’s work remains firmly in the realm of abstraction, each work illuminates a mathematical system of arranged white marks on a circular black canvas: galaxies revolving around a center point. There are five works in all, each the same size. Their cohesive nature when placed together is striking.

For “Marked”, Margie Livingston has created three-dimensional structures made entirely of acrylic paint. The layered streaks of color are reminiscent of folded candy, and “Coiled Painting with Yellow Mouth” (2010) looks like a tongue glossed with psychedelic swirls. Their tactility reaches out to the viewer, and the pieces seem so fluid that they beg to be stretched like taffy.

Overall, the exhibition is eye-opening and definitely worth a visit. The artists will leave a mark, and “Marked” is a great example of the capacity of Kittredge to introduce to our campus community a range of talent, versatility and thought-provoking art.