June 18, 2013
Huffington Post, 06/17/2013
Peter Frank

Huffington Post, 06/17/2013
Peter Frank

Phillis Ideal paints expansively, regardless of the size of her visual field, laying out her abstractions with broadly described areas of color. The breadth of that description incorporates both painterly gesture and sharply defined contour, a combination of texture – abetted by a restrained but still succulent palette – that opens up visual possibility. The overlays of gesture, including scratch and scribble, and geometrically defined edge continue around and atop the major forms, providing that much more intricate and engaging a composition. In their confluence of the hard edge and the painterly, Ideal’s paintings evince a sophisticated grasp of American postwar painting – sophisticated enough to add to, even renew, it while remaining distinctive and up-to-date. Similarly, Tom Martinelli’s paintings and works on paper build on a prior conception of visual stimulus; but in his case, he troubles as much as personalizes the given aesthetic, his gridworks of dots – evocative of American minimalism and European “optical” art – destabilizing rather than anchoring normal vision. By painting each black orb on top of a “stack” of different-colored dots – each dot peeking out from behind the next – Martinelli sets up a woozy visual misregistration reminiscent of cheap poster printing. These paintings date from the mid-1990s, so they answer not just to ‘60s pop-op and ‘70s pattern painting but to ‘80s neo-geo, looking at what happens when the hand – and then the eye – makes the same slight mistake over and over again. Grid-dotting occurs in Carol Brown Goldberg’s paintings as well, but as part of a far denser conception of visual field – more akin to Ideal’s inclusive formal language than to Martinelli’s dogged reductivism. Indeed, Goldberg’s recent canvases are veritable stews of disparate shapes and colors, grids of various types jostling and overlaying one another, spiced with seemingly random strands of color, flavored with mists of color, and conforming to symmetric, almost heraldic superstructures. They infer both the regimentation of electronic wiring and the seeming chaos of the myriad data such wiring transmits. Goldberg’s tidy cacophonies drop us into the dark heart of our digital universe, where all the information we rely on has become abstracted into pulses. (David Richard, 544 S. Guadalupe St., Santa Fe; closed. www.davidrichardgallery.com) – Peter Frank

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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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