By Show and Tell
By Bree Davies
By Bree Davies
By Cory Casciato
By Emilie Johnson
By Robin Edwards
By Bree Davis
By Josiah M. Hesse
Two solo shows now at the Spark Gallery take up the topic of realism -- but each takes a clearly different path.
Occupying a full two-thirds of the gallery, Robert Gratiot: Recent Paintings is made up of a group of striking hyper-realist compositions. Gratiot is particularly interested in meticulously reproducing the effect of reflected light on shiny or transparent surfaces. Three of his acrylic-on-canvas paintings concern piles of eyeglasses wrapped in cellophane; several others are about swirly glass marbles, both in and out of cellophane. Another of the artist’s favorite topics is the glass walls of modern buildings, as in Ess-DC: (seen above). In this painting, there’s even a vaporous self-portrait, with the glass reflecting Gratiot taking the photo on which the painting is based.
A very different kind of realism is employed in Madeleine Dodge: New Work, a small show made up of only five paintings. The exhibit has been hung in a discreet room in the corner of the main Spark space. Four of the five paintings are still-life scenes set in the kitchen; the other is a murky landscape. Stylistically, all of the paintings are examples of traditional realism, but Dodge puts a contemporary spin on them with the use of integral sculptural steel frames. The found steel she uses is smudged, and her welds are sloppy -- two attributes that work beautifully here.
Spark is often the place to find a pair of interesting exhibits presented simultaneously -- but rarely do they work together as well as these two. Both close Sunday.