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Spatial Contrasts

Spatial Contrasts: Judith Foosaner, Frances McCormack

R.B. Stevenson Gallery, La Jolla, CA

Article by Cathy Breslaw

Judith Foosaner and Frances McCormack share a penchant for examining spatial relationships using abstracted bimorphic forms as a primary vehicle in creating their paintings. Foosaner sets strict narrow parameters for her paintings, while incorporating collage and free-hand sketches into her mostly large scale works. Working in a color palette limited to black, white and grays, Foosaner uses rhythm, line, pattern and mostly bimorphic and figurative forms as her visual language. Paintings Dance Jamaica and Crow Flies, oils on canvas, are reminiscent of the loosely drawn organic forms created by Henri Matisse while Night Flight #3 and Vignette #6, much smaller paintings, are more similar to Matisse’s paper cuts minus the vivid color.

Within articulated shapes are hand sketched charcoal lines that in some cases are erased and then re-drawn, highlighting the character and quality of the line. It is within the “hand of the artist” with these and another group of 10” x 10” works, where Foosaner’s intentions are revealed. This series of five acrylic and paper works on panel seem to share an intimacy and authenticity not entirely present in the other works. They possess a primitive and loosely fluid sense of movement with a calligraphic feel present in Chinese calligraphy.

In contrast to the starkness of Foossaner’s limited color palette, Frances McCormack uses a vivid range of lush rich color to create her paintings. There is a strong underlying structural composition to her landscape-like abstractions. McCormack uses intermingled tubular forms as well as tree and limb-like shapes, and loosely formed architectural columns. It is a fantasy forest of her own creation. Painted in oils on canvas over wood panel, these large format works have a physicality and energy that vibrate in her world of invented space. McCormack’s paintings invite the viewer to invent their own stories about the meaning of these works. Using the intensity of color and the strength of natural forms, McCormack seems to talk about nature and growth, and though she gives us a glimpse into her world, the viewer may wonder about an underlying meaning.

Small clues are revealed in the paintings’ titles: Study for Self Portrait as a Tree, “Dusk and the Underground” and Upright and Rooted. This two person exhibition gives viewers contrasting abstract perspectives of our natural world and ways painters choose to convey ideas, feeling and energy through biomorphic forms, color, rhythm and movement.

“Breaking & Entering # 29”
acrylic & paper on canvas
66 x 66 in

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