The works by two very different artists currently on exhibit at BCB ART establish a surprisingly fluid dialog. Brenda Gigerich presents ten, one of a kind mono prints, all from this year, which show a somewhat distant, rather symbolic view of land and sea. Sandra Gottlieb is a photographer who offers eight up-close chromogenic prints that capture the varied crests of waves near the shores of Rockaway Beach in Queens, NY - all executed in October of 2013.
In Gigerich's art, there are suggestions of automatic writing in works such as Red Sky, or ritualistic dancing in Before the Storm and one untitled piece which plays well against the Jackson Pollock-like patterns, spatters and sprays of frothy white water at the peak of the crashing waves in Gottlieb's October Waves No. 4.
(above) Jackson Pollock, The Deep (1953), oil and enamel on canvas, 7 ft 2 3/4 in x 59 1/8 in (220.4 x 150.2 cm), Musée national d'art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (www.archive.com)
Both artists create works that bare two distinct halves. Gigerich utilizes a precise horizon line that cuts right through her compositions separating a highly textured or toned down ground from a sometimes tumultuous, and other times sober sky. These splits in Gigerich's work add substantial weight to composition, despite the fact there are, in many instances, very few deep colors or dark values used. Gottlieb, on the other hand, relies solely on a very controlled depth of field -- a substantial divide between the focused area of the closest wave to the nebulous form, tone and color of the distant water behind it. This split in clarity makes for a very surreal separation between near and far as it eliminates any visibly recognizable middle ground.
One big commonality is, that in each piece, there is a reverence for the organic, a sense of the magic of immediacy, and a recognition of the power of chance. Gigerich achieves her affects through the process of working with oil paints on Plexiglas or metal, paper and an etching press. In the right hands, the process of monotyping can yield the chilling depth in the sky, water and rocks of Before The Storm #2, or the sense of fear, as if one is looking through nearly closed eyes, in Before the Storm #3.
In Gottlieb's images of the sea, there is a confounding intimacy. The translucence of the waves, the starkness of the white water, the vagueness of the distant fields all create a strange sort of unsteadiness as we process the information before us. We've all seen like realities as we walk or wade along the sea's edge and experience similar views. Yet these pauses in the action, the collective and collapsing energy that results in a variety of elements captured in works such as October Wave No. 3 are truly remarkable.
It's not just about the familiarity of the world around us. It's about what we take from our experiences, what we choose to share and the resulting sensitivity that new perspectives instill in all of us.
BCB ART is in Hudson, NY. The exhibition ends July 6th.