Opening Reception: Saturday, August 7 5:00 - 8:00pm
Meditative in their simplicity, Ellen Baer's paintings are a provocative exploration of material, surface, and color. Using simple pairings of vibrant color - a brilliant orange glowing through a smoky red - Baer creates striking resonances of space within singular, iconic forms. Through thick curls of paint edging giant scrapes, Baer reveals to us anew the sensuousness of the physical act of painting. In its serenity and focus, her new exhibition at the Brentwood Arts Exchange, Spectrum: Memories of Natural Forms and Light, is the perfect remedy for summer inside the Beltway.
Working from her paint-strewn storefront studio in Hyattsville, Ellen Baer has been busily paring down visual forms, creating paintings that are at once tense and serene, wedged among the interplay between surface and perceived space. The works in her exhibition at the Brentwood Arts Exchange developed from her desire to create spare, simple work. Yet, to the eyes of practiced students of painting, they retain distant hints of their origins in explorations of natural forms, floating on the canvas as singular responses to painters' perennial challenge of structuring space with color and economy.
Painting by Ellen BaerSome seemingly as simple as a broad scrape made with a screen printer's squeegee, the paintings in Spectrum: Memories of Natural Forms and Light reveal their makings unpretentiously. Their process and simple forms liken them to post-minimalist painting - one-stroke descendants of Stella's pinstripe paintings. Visually, however, her paintings are as much in debt to Joseph Albers as Mark Rothko. And, much like that lofty heritage, Spectrum: Memories of Natural Forms and Light is a demanding exhibition. It demands that viewers pay attention to subtlety, slow down, and remove themselves from the clutter of the rest of the day. Those who do are rewarded with the pleasure of presence, a chance to return to the world outside the gallery with renewed openness and acuity.
The Brentwood Arts Exchange at the Gateway Arts Center is located at 3901 Rhode Island Avenue Brentwood, MD 20722. Call the center at 301-277-2863/ tty. 301-446-6802. Hours are Monday through Friday: 10am - 8pm and Saturday: 10am - 6pm.