August 8, 2012

Santa Fe New Mexican
Pasatiempo, 07/20/2012
Michael Abatemarco


Santa Fe New Mexican
Pasatiempo, 07/20/2012
Michael Abatemarco

Deborah Remington's work strikes the viewer with its graphic intensity. Dark grays, greens, and blacks contrast with lighter grays and whites with shapes, outlined heavily in purple, orange, or red tones. The immediate impression of the imagery is one of representationalism or of objectivity. Remington's work at David Richard Gallery consists of paintings, drawings, and lithographs. Among the earliest works in the show is a painting titled March, which Remington completed in 1964. While the majority of the work done in the period covered by this show (1964 to 1975) is consistent compositionally -- with shapes that resemble mirrors, windows, or portals centered on the canvases and appearing to open on exterior worlds of sky or empty space -- March is distinctive in that it has the feeling of a still life. Yet it is also the most painterly of the included abstractions, with less nuance to its gradations of colors than in her later work. What it shares with the others is Remington's oblique references to objects that never resolve themselves into anything definite.

Her paintings are remarkable. They have the boldness of Art Deco design and a structured and steady use of line and form that seems antithetic to the Abstract Expressionist tradition she came from, studying under Clyfford Still and Hassel Smith. Common to each work included at David Richard are juxtapositions between light and dark, outer and inner space. Primary consideration is given to these contrasts. Hard-edged outlining and subtle color transitions are conflated within a single composition.

Some of the imagery seems to reside within a defined space, like objects in a room, but the effect is illusory. Her Adelphi Series #17, for instance, looks like panes of glass within an amorphous form, blurring the line where one form ends and another begins. Remington achieved a rich density to the drawing with a smooth but thick application of pencil and crayon that lends the work an almost metallic appearance.

The lithographs were printed at Tamarind Institute in the mid-1970's. Two lithos, Kent and Velsuna, are representative of the prints in the show: they relate strongly to the larger paintings -- notably to Dorset, which shares some identical oval, mirror-like imagery -- and they take on an enigmatic mystique.

Remington continued to create similar works until late in her career. Here is an opportunity to see her unique aesthetic in its early days. While an exhibit including her more Abstract Expressionist works from the 1950s, showing her transition to the more streamlined imagery, or a retrospective, may have been more compelling, the gallery can't be faulted for focusing on this crucial period. It does have examples of her older work, but they are not included as part of this exhibit and are, simply, less interesting. David Richard has a knack for culling significant post-war material that isn't widely celebrated. Today, while much abstraction languishes in the shadow of the renewed interest in realism and surrealism, the gallery remains steadfast in promoting it. Remington, however, is one artist whose work approaches the boundary between the objective and nonobjective.

Santa Fe New Mexican
Pasatiempo, 07/20/2012
Michael Abatemarco

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January 17, 2017
Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts
J. Willard Marriott Library
The University of Utah, 01/17/2017

The University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library will host the art exhibition Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts, Jan. 20-March 3.

Artnauts, an art collective formed 20 years ago by George Rivera, professor of art and art history at the University of Colorado, Boulder, consists of 300 global artists who serve as goodwill ambassadors, acknowledging and supporting victims of oppression worldwide. Their creativity has generated over 230 exhibitions across five continents. Five faculty members from the U’s Department of Art and Art History are members of the collective, Sandy Brunvand, Beth Krensky, V. Kim Martinez, Brian Snapp and Xi Zhang.

Globalocation derives from “Globalocational Art” — a concept used by the Artnauts to refer to their exhibitions in international venues. It is the mission of the Artnauts to take art to places of contention, and this anniversary exhibition is a sample of places where they have been and themes they have addressed.

“The Artnauts could not exist without the commitment of the artists in the collective to a common vision of the transformative power of art,” said Rivera. “The Artnauts make their contribution with art that hopefully generates a dialogue with an international community on subjects that are sometimes difficult to raise.”

Krensky, associate department chair of the Art and Art History Department, had the opportunity to travel with Rivera in Chile as part of an Artnauts project, working with mothers who were searching for their children who had mysteriously disappeared during a time of political unrest.

“When I travelled to Chile in 1998, George and I spent an afternoon with the Mothers of the Disappeared, and the meeting changed my life,” said Krensky. “It was from that moment on that I placed a picture of them on my desk to look at every day. I was so moved by what they each had lost — a son, a brother, a father — and yet what remained for them was a deep, deep well of love. They were fierce warriors and stood up to the government to demand the whereabouts and information of the people who had disappeared, but they lived within profound love.”

The 20th anniversary exhibition at the Marriott Library is a retrospective of the traveling works the Artnauts have toured around the globe. The exhibition will be located on level three of the library. The opening reception is open to the public and will be held on Friday, Jan 20, 4-6 p.m. Rivera will speak at 4 p.m.

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