Sunday, December 5, 2010

Lynne Campbell, Celia Reisman, and Christine Lafuente

Lynne Campbell and a series of her paintings

An interesting thing about this show is its frequent reference to nature, and how the artists relate to that subject in the way they paint.

All three are known to frequent Maine, but only two seem to use motifs from that landscape. In Christine Lafuente’s work, oil paintings of dashing brio imbue often quiet scenes with a passion and energy that upends the themes of gray with the thrill of painting. Seeing is as exciting as something very youthful in us, these paintings say, and they notice color as a blazon, as something startling and enlivening.

For Celia Reisman, scenes of Maine are a chance to create wonderful rhymes of shape, a chance to simplify form and detail into lovely abstractions that inter-relate across the painted surface. Neither painterly-ness, nor impasto, are her objectives, but a modest stepping away, a replacement of realism with something embroidered out of the real. If there are Platonic shapes and colors, then this is the artist of those. Her edges remember the lilt of line, emphasizing that we follow the way nature and human arrangements compare and contrast with each other, even in something as subtle as a house edge, a lily garden and the landscape beyond, which she holds together in a certain light and design.

For Lynne Campbell, the idea of Maine resides in not being there. She equates thinking of with simultaneity. Were she in Maine, she might well be thinking of a wildlife refuge near home, imagining how life goes on in a space we know, but cannot be present in, except by the reverie of painting. The sense of a movie, of time passing from one stage into another, interests her. Time is her distance. This is worth knowing, because it explains the duration and way of looking her paintings encourage. Like Haiku, they seem simple and brief, yet one lingers in their silent grace, appreciating the visible world we often over-number with details and thereby give up as chaos. To her the woods are woods, not single trees blinding us to the ensemble. And yet she picks a focus, and relates something to that. As in Celia’s paintings, and Christine’s, there is a relation between parts that makes us feel, in this case, the serenity of nature’s order.

To see like this, and for these reasons, we require artists as guides in the visual adventure of life on earth, and the life of our spirit.

John Sevcik

At Morpeth Contemporary
Hopewell, New Jersey
Since November and continuing within the Holiday small works show