UNLEASHING INSTINCT: DRAWINGS BY MICHAEL K. PAXTON
The art of Chicago-based Michael K. Paxton offers a painted geology of forms created through floods of color washes. Paxton calls these works on drafting film “drawings,” indicating the “aggressive mark making” that he splashes and spatters over quick gestural lines. Despite the two-dimensional medium, his work is anything but still and flat. He shows the construction of form with lines emerging and disappearing underneath sheer drippings of color. In his larger works, Paxton uses a limited color palette that recalls the hues of flesh and blood. Once a figurative artist and a Stage 4 cancer survivor, his palette and layered color washes construct cavernous spaces of charging bodily fluids that clot in different places. The dried clots outline the shapes of dripstones that are sometimes pink, red, brown, or charred black. As soon as forms appear they disappear. Paxton’s art is unbridled animation. Some of his smaller pieces are in tones of blacks and grays with calligraphic lines that compose the likenesses of pulsating, living organs. Through these drawings on drafting film, he brings out the autonomous freedom of the abstract expressionists while applying the markings with veils of color seen in the color field paintings. Paxton has won many awards and honors, including the 2012 Air le Parc Fellowship in Pampelonne, France and the 2009 Illinois Arts Council Artist Fellowship Award.
GELATIN SILVER: TRADITIONAL PRINTS BY WILLIAM AND MARY STUDENTS
Under the tutelage of William and Mary Photography Professor, Elliot Dudik, twelve students have submitted an impressive range of black and white photographs for this exhibition. The title “Gelatin Silver” draws attention to the pure medium of photography, which depends on silver salts to produce a light-sensitive picture. Traditional printing takes place in the darkroom, an environment demanding care, skill, and craft in the chemical development and fixing of pictures. Each print is clean with beautiful tonality, demonstrating the discipline in the darkroom and the talent of these exhibitors. The exhibition presents the art of photography through its capacities to be mimetic, and pushes the aesthetic forms of time and space. Dudik’s photographers experiment with these formal elements by using shutter speed effects, breaking up portraits’ picture planes, and addressing the temporality of subject matter. One subject, a plate of melting ice cubes, captures the momentary presence of matter as it changes into a liquid. The photographers show that the medium of gelatin silver and traditional photography forms are anything but dead because they continue to stimulate the imagination with great success in the twenty-first century.
ELAINE VIEL: MONOPRINTS
Elaine Viel is the former gallery manager for the Ferguson Center for the Arts at Christopher Newport University. She has submitted six colorful monoprints, each printed and colored differently. Monoprints offer unique print effects because no two are alike. In one combination with the monotype plate, Viel presses hand prints onto the paper to create two impressions-- one mechanical and the other human hand. In “Dog in Flight,” she uses a subtractive process to remove some of the paint from the dog’s fur to produce texture and spatial weightlessness. Viel primarily works with a limited palette for maximum effect of color, and is devoted to creating detailed organic forms out of a mechanical process.
Through Feb. 20, 20% of sales at the Linda Matney Gallery benefit the Triangle Arts and Culture League