By Lennie Bennett, Times Art Critic
In Print: Thursday, August 18, 2011
We humans like to find patterns in life, those individual behaviors and isolated events that repeat themselves enough to have some sort of larger meaning.
We’re always looking for visual patterns as well. You’ll find plenty of them at Florida CraftArt’s current show, “Pattern Play,” works by five disparate and highly regarded artists curator Jorge Vidal has organized into a show that is not only about pattern but becomes its own sort of pattern.
Sarah Gross’ Curtain is the most arresting, a massive installation of stoneware blocks, carved with quatrafoil and trefoil shapes, stacked precariously into an undulating wall that looks both massive and vulnerable. Smaller sculptures nearby reiterate the same pattern.
Many of us know Catherine Woods as a successful creator of public art in boldly tinted glass. In this show, more intimate pieces allow her to work subtly with color. The way her fused glass panels create prismlike shadows on the walls behind them is simply beautiful. And, in the case of Madras, a clever optical illusion. In it, two striped panes are connected at an angle and attached to the wall. Looking at them from the side, they become a three-dimensional plaid.
The circular paintings on fabric mesh by Jennifer Cecere are often described as giant doilies or mandalas. The two in “Pattern Play” are densely layered images, sometimes sinister ones such as the wolf in Riding Hood. They’re decorated with fanciful blobs of bright paint, invoking the light and dark sides of childhood fairy tales. They appear to be woven patterns from a distance that draw you closer to see their intricate details.
You may have seen Cosme Herrera’s elegant works in a September show at Mindy Solomon Gallery. They were made with wood-grained contact paper; the three here are cut from real wood veneer. So they’re more textured but still as grave and spare with Japanese sensibility. Amazing how much emotion a few simple silhouettes can generate, environmental statements that could be titled The Death of a Tree.
Michelle Weinberg is another veteran of public art. She typically softens a strong graphic design element with sweet whimsy, as in an untitled installation of five gouache paintings hung on a painted backdrop and in Flow Chart, a large painting hanging at the entrance to the exhibition. In it, a pop art pattern of gray and white is broken by a fanciful green desk whose owner has left her red handbag beside it, open, with escaping pink flowers.
With the exception of Herrera, none of these artists seem to have a lot on their minds. This is art easily accessed by your eyes and enjoyed as a visceral pleasure. It’s a good summer show.
Lennie Bennett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8293.