Art Review

Four Neo-Modern Abstract Solos Dazzle the Eye at the Havu Gallery

The William Havu Gallery has staked out a wide swath of aesthetic territory for its exhibitions. For example, while it highlighted neo-traditional landscapes last month, this month’s focus is on a set of solos featuring neo-modern abstracts.

The array begins with Monroe Hodder: Smoke and Mirrors, which comprises very recent efforts. Over the past decade, Hodder has made a name for herself via paintings that strike a balance between geometric abstraction and expressionism, carried out in deep, rich shades. This new work, though arguably an extension of these previous pieces, represents a big change. The compositions are no longer constrained by horizontal lines, and the palette’s volume has been turned way up. To be honest, not all of them work, but when they do, as with “Razzle Dazzle," they reveal that Hodder is really on to something — though she might need to reel it in a little.

Installed among the Hodder paintings are kinetic sculptures — mostly suspension pieces — that make up Robert Delaney. Employing flat metal shapes that pierce or interact with one another, Delaney (full disclosure: He is my partner) engages the force of gravity to determine, through balance, the specific compositions of each.

Some of these sculptures are painted in simple palettes, but most have been left in raw metal so that the natural colors show through. Like Hodder’s, Delaney’s well-established approach is morphing, but whereas she is going for greater boldness, he’s aiming to be more subtle.

Beyond the Delaneys are the paintings that make up Joanne Kerrihard. These large, dreamy, atmospheric abstracts are wispy in places and dominated by pastel shades laid on translucently against light-colored grounds. Kerrihard is referring to water, but she’s not depicting it; instead, she uses the appearance of the liquid as the veiled inspiration for her visual effects.

Finally there’s Amy Metier, a show that includes a few of the artist’s marvelous abstracts but is dominated by her inventive monographs with chine-collé. In these, collage elements, including snips of printed pages, have been adhered to the paper by the press. Many artists take the same approach to different mediums, but not Metier: Her paintings and paper collages exploit the individual qualities of each form in its own way.

The gorgeous colors in the paintings combined with the gentle movement of the sculptures make this quartet seem as fresh as a spring day.

All four shows run through May 2 at Havu Gallery, 1040 Cherokee Street. For more information, call 303-893-2360 or go to