Forward and Back

Pressing on through darkness



WHAT: “Divine Mind”
WHEN: 11am-5pm Fridays through Sundays through mid-August
WHERE: i.e. gallery, 5800 Cains Court, Edison

WHAT: “Looking Forward/Looking Back”
WHEN: 11am-5pm Thursdays through Sundays through July 31
WHERE: Perry and Carlson Gallery, 504 S. First St., Mount Vernon

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

In Edison, i.e. gallery is currently featuring “Divine Mind,” with recent paintings and sculptures by Seattle-based artist Rachel Maxi.

For 20 years, Maxi was known as a realist who explored the urban landscape to portray dumpsters, golf courses and swimming pools. But in 2015 she was struck by a car and everything changed. Recovering from a terrible head injury, she “began to use her brain differently,” calling her experience “the complicated joy of pressing on through darkness.”

During a month’s residency in Morocco in 2018, Maxi coupled painting with her love of building things to paint her sculptures and sculpt her paintings. The results include exquisite, wall-hung works of interlocking sculptural elements. “Fundouk” and “Miss Fez” consist of painted wood, beeswax and metal leaf, each a spirited collage of soft gold, rose and white sections, some inscribed with straight or wavy lines, comforting and restful to behold.

In a somber mood is the titular “Divine Mind,” an oil painting in shades of bleached bone on a background of jet black. In my imagination, the piece seems a furtive parade of interwoven ghostly, shrouded figures examining the viewer as they shuffle past.

Another artistic residency the following year, Playa in Oregon, ignited a dazzling outburst of creativity. “Tango Flux” and “Oscillating Currents” are accompanied by “Sacred Spa,” “Cult of Daisy,” and “Letter from the Landscape.” Some suggest a place or a kind of reality. Others, such as “Playa Haiku” and “Kintsikuroi Invocation,” both comprised of oil, metal leaf, beeswax and sumi paper, are dominated by a hieratic symbol.

“High Priestess of the Ancient Future” echoes “Divine Mind” but now in delightful mauve, azure and rose. A friendly group of sculptural visitors emerge, otherworldly but warm.

At Perry and Carlson Gallery in Mount Vernon, found objects and a variety of materials and media also characterize the work of Arlington resident Kathryn Glowen, who includes acrylic paint and iconic objects into panels dominated by stitchery medallions made from silk neckties and kimonos. She assembled 10,000 of these “yo-yo’s” into a 125-square-foot single composition that she exhibited in the United States and the Far East.

Glowen’s “Eight Golden Birds” celebrates a Chinese carved wood sculpture nestled beautifully within a panel of red, pink, white and azure medallions. A companion piece predominately in blue sprinkled with golden and russet enshrines Indian textiles featuring a female deity.

Kathryn’s husband Ron won early notice as a painter. But remaining an artist did not fully command his attention. He enjoyed a career as an arts reviewer and art history instructor even while working for Boeing.

His acrylic “Waterfallacy,” a surreal masterpiece, depicts a thrilling and impossible assembly of mountain, waterfalls, rocks, glacier, ocean, sky and icebergs. Other paintings, cryptically named “Anastomosia” and “Hyetal,” are colorful and imaginative.

The exhibit, aptly titled “Looking Forward, Looking Back,” features work by both spouses from the 1970s to the current day. It’s not often they show their art together, so those who’d like an inside look at the couples’ creative arcs should know they only have through the end of July to get it.

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