Walker told me that this will be her approach going forward — and it makes sense, because it will allow her to promote more artists simultaneously. But despite her best intentions, two artists do emerge as the stars of Amalgamated Contemplation: sculptor Brandon Reese and the late Roland Bernier, a painter and mixed-media artist.
Though Reese’s three-dimensional creations couldn’t be more different from Bernier’s paintings and works on paper, they look great together. There are three of Bernier’s spectacular all-over abstractions from the 1990s that are covered with marks suggesting writing or graffiti tagging; complex and pictorially sophisticated, these are impressive displays of his technique. Despite being two decades old, they’ve held up beautifully and look cutting-edge new. Of the many periods of Bernier’s stylistic development, I think the paintings and prints of this time represent a high point of his long career.
Amalgamated Contemplation also includes Ben Strawn’s airy abstract paintings, some of which incorporate wire “drawings” rising off their surfaces. In the back are a group of aerial photos by Angela Beloian that she has covered with white-colored, web-like digital drawings. In a lot of ways, these altered photos represent an expression of the same concept you see in the artist's more familiar ink-on-wood drawings, but they really look different. The Beloians are paired with sparely composed and intimately scaled abstract monoprints by Kellie Cannon. Cannon's use of simple outlined shapes set against flat grounds reminded me of work of the late Dale Chisman — and that’s definitely a compliment.
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