January 11 - February 1, 2018
Beyond Reason: John Beardman & Hilda O'Connell
Playful Scapes: Beth Barry & Mel Smothers
In her second exhibition at Carter Burden Gallery Beth Barry presents bright acrylic paintings that focus on light, color, and movement in the exhibition Playful Scapes. Barry’s work is strongly influenced by the Massachusetts coastline where she grew up and felt tremendous happiness and excitement by the ocean. Pleasure is a large part of her process and a critical part of the finished piece. Barry states, “My paintings are places of happiness”.
John Beardman presents large abstracted representations on canvas of the human head in the exhibition Beyond Reason. Beardman’s work is a personal expression of remembered visual phenomena, and thorough a transformative series of events in recent months his work has moved from classical abstraction to personified abstraction in the form of heads. The paintings enter into the “uncanny valley”, creating a scene of familiarity and revulsion simultaneously, for it is both recognizable and alien. Beardman states, “These heads are viewed through different optical planes with various emotions calling out to the viewer ... I want you to be open to experiencing it, to be open to seeing a different dimension of yourself.”
In the exhibition Beyond Reason Hilda O’Connell illuminates her research and interests in language and alphabets with large mixed media works on canvas. Her process is to create an improvisational dialogue within the medium, using the palimpsest technique, a form of overwriting she employs in which traces of marks are superimposed over a cluster of random letters, creating a field of linguistic fragments and calligraphic notations which represent a wordless language. O’Connells’ paintings engage the viewer in the same way an archeological dig makes one wonder about the meaning of the objects and the language and its deeper essence. O’Connell often quotes W. B. Yeats, ‘Shake off the vocabulary of literal meaning to dig into the spiritual’.
In the exhibition Playful Scapes Mel Smothers presents energetic, colorful abstracted landscapes with oil on canvas from his series “Mountain Lake”. This series references to the Hopi shaman Mountain Lake, who influenced psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung during their brief but profound encounter in New Mexico. Smothers’ paintings combine rich color, painterly brushstrokes, and combination of opaque and translucent layers to create a striking and dynamic surface. Smothers explains, “For me, painting is about the journey. That needs to be said. Validation comes and goes. What remains is the visual road map created by the struggle of painting. The story of pushing paint around, and as the years go by, finding it is the reason to get up in the morning.”