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|Photos courtesy Mark Ormond - Joan
Moment’s paintings have a cosmic
|Tom Grabowsky is restless in his need to
experiment, which is evident in the variety of
work he is showing from the past several
Allyn Gallup presents paintings of
Grabowsky, Moment and Smith
Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art in Sarasota
is currently showing the work of three artists who are each
absorbed in their own way with formal issues that begin with
the painted surface of an object – be it an unframed wood
panel or a stretched canvas. Tom Grabowsky, Joan Moment and
Tremain Smith are sharing the space with each other, as well
as with the primitive art in the gallery and the work of
dozens of other artists from the gallery’s inventory. Since
it’s summer, why not spend part of a lazy afternoon with some
of this work?
Tom Grabowsky is restless in his need to
experiment, and this is evident in the variety of work he is
showing from the past several years. There are constants to
the work, and they have to do with its foundation.
first glance, surface, color and compartmentalization equally
compete for attention. Among the works here, his palette
changes, as does the scale of the work. However, each
addresses these three issues.
His surfaces are the
most seductive and the most problematic; he seems to use an
acrylic varnish that encapsulates the paint and other mixed
media, so it is not only physically removed from the viewers’
touch, but visually removed because of how the light bounces
off the surface. This shellac shell creates somewhat of a
psychological barrier, too, because the paint and forms
underneath this are not immediate to viewers. This is what
Grabowsky wrestles with in most of the work.
a very personal construct to each of the works that viewers
can peruse and enjoy – and somehow not get beyond.
“Light Falling Series 2003,” there is a balance of the
geometric and the organic. There is a balanced tension in the
structure of the composition; colors and forms co-exist. In
“Hinge,” there are two panels of blue and gold. Here, too, he
balances the forms and color – the abstract and the reference
His collages, such as “The Magic Garden
II,” seem more contrived and not as much about formal issues.
There seem to be endless layers of collaged, digital
photographic elements. In “Light Falling IV” and “Light
Falling VI,” he has reduced his interests to color, light and
dimension. These are successful, and in some ways reference Ad
Reinhardt or Mark Rothko in that the light is somewhat
mysterious – although we see that it comes from the gold leaf
or gold paint on the surface. The stripes add a sense of rigor
to the work that brings to mind Gene Davis, although these are
very different from his paintings in scale and color and much
Tremain Smith also concerns herself with
surface, as she has challenged herself to work with encaustic
or wax mixed with her pigments and collage on panels.
In addition to surface, we are confronted with scale
in her work. She nicely balances color and light in her
compositions. The paintings are comforting in that they induce
a sense of nostalgia in viewers for what is past. There are no
specific references, and it is almost the subliminal comfort
of a barn door, a porch floor or an old textile.
only narrative aspect of these paintings is what we invent as
the experience of the artist producing the work we are
viewing. The surface is visceral in a way that has us thinking
about what the surface might be, however, not really knowing.
It is as if the past is indistinct, and so our recollection of
the colors or textures is suspended. We do not need to touch
the work. It is enough that we acknowledge that the materials
have witnessed a process that brought them to what we see. It
is that comfort we have in looking at what is old and worn.
The event has passed. The blood has dried. The skin has
shriveled. Experience conceals and hides many things. These
works do that.
Joan Moment is showing some new work
that has a cosmic reference, as well as some older work that
has us contemplating images, impressions and transfers of leaf
forms. “Pink Dabs in the Cosmos” layers acrylic paint on a
small canvas where we see circles and discs. Colors of blue
and orange predominate in this work, as they do in many others
in the show.
Moment is working through some new ideas
in this series of works where the most recent painting,
“Outburst,” seems to be taking her in a new direction of more
densely layered surfaces. In “Blue Nasturtium II,” rust and
blue blooms float across the paper. She sweeps strokes of
paint up and down. “Luminous Net” is a dense aqueous blue,
like the night sky or a dark ocean where bubbles or beams of
pure white light cluster in the heavens or the surface of the
water. “Moment” creates a tension in the juxtaposition of the
opaque passages of white and the translucent shades of blue.
There are many wonderful passages in which to lose oneself in