Thursday, October 3, 2013 at 10:22 a.m.
Breaking Light #41, by Jil Evans
Guests are invited to take a look at a variety of abstract paintings For "30 x 30," the latest exhibition at Kolman & Pryor Gallery. Artists were asked to create works on 30'' by 30" canvasses for the group show (although one artist, Duane Ditty, veered slightly against the rules by making a 29'' x 31'' painting). Ceramicist Kelly Jean Ohl is also featured, and presenting 30 pieces.
Patrick Kemal Pryor enters partnership role at Kolman & Pryor with group show
Unlike "Painter, Painter," an exhibition currently at the Walker Art Center, "30 x 30" isn't challenging the notion of painting. With the exception of Ohl's work, there's no doubt about whether these pieces are in fact paintings. Instead, the show offers multiple examples of approaches to abstraction.
Patrick Kemal Pryor, who co-owns the gallery with Anita Sue Kolman, curated the exhibition. He says that he's much more interested in shape and form than in representation. However, he feels that abstraction is just as much representation as anything else. "I like that it goes beyond the literal world," he says. "An abstract painting in some ways can communicate what can't be said in words."
One of the more interesting groups of paintings comes from Farida Hughes, who draws inspiration for her works from viewing different kinds of crowds of people from above. Though the people are represented by little dots, the series offers an example of abstraction that isn't completely devoid of being "about" something. Rather, it's a nice expression of looking at a common occurrence -- people standing around at a rock concert, in line at the DMV -- in a way you may never have seen before.
Jill Evans's work has a lovely texture to it, and her use of color is surprising and creative. Employing photographs of the Cannon River flooding on the banks of the Northfield Arboretum as source material, Evans has created paintings with movement and fluidity. You can see the water, though she gets at that feeling through abstraction rather than trying to paint what the flooding actually looked like.
Overall, however, the unfortunate part about having every pieces in the show be the same size is that it all feels a bit too similar. While there are certainly different approaches taken by each artist, there wasn't enough contrast as a whole to make the exhibition dynamic. Still, there were pieces that resonated individually, such as Ditty's layered paintings and Pryor's own work.
During the show, the gallery plans to host a panel discussion, titled "The Value of Abstraction," on Wednesday, October 23 from 7 to 9 p.m. The talk will be facilitated by Camille LeFevre, with panelists including the Star Tribune's Mary Abbe and the Minnesota Museum of American Art's Christina Chang. Pryor he hopes the discussion will help contextualize what's happening right now in the art world with abstraction.
IF YOU GO:
"30 x 30"
Open tonight from 5 to 9 p.m. as part of First Thursdays
There will be reception from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, October 12
Kolman & Pryor Gallery
Studio 395, Northrup King Building, 1500 Jackson Street NE, Minneapolis