Gary Edward Blum, "Quiet House"
Barbara Kerwin, "Windows"
April 19 - May 31, 2008
Reception: Saturday, April 19, 5 - 7 pm

2525 Michigan Avenue #G2, Santa Monica, CA 90404
310-829-3300, fax 310-449-0070
Web site:
Gallery hours, Tuesday – Saturday 10:00am – 6:00pm

LEFT: Gary Edward Blum, "Tuolumne (Morning)", 2008, acrylic on canvas, 36" x 72".
RIGHT: Barbara Kerwin, "Window A", 2008, encaustic, oil on panel, 30" x 30".

In his new body of work, Gary Edward Blum continues his exploration of balance and dependent opposition. Mingling realism and abstraction, depicts found objects that are at once still life, autobiographical record and instigators of compositional tension and examination.

In Blum's paintings colored cards and book covers are rendered in photorealistic precision which are accompanied by acrylic markings-guidelines, color fields, paint swatches, daubs, smudges and scrapes.  While these marks are typically considered improvisational, they are as carefully considered as the realistically rendered objects. The seemingly arbitrary markings and humble objects are strategically placed by Blum and often take on parallel roles in the paintings while also creating engaging contrasts; they become still life elements, create open-ended narratives and give insight into the artist's process. As the paintings are read, a multitude of meanings layered into the paintings emerge.

“It’s not just the representation,” Blum states, “or just the mark-making that attracts me - it’s the dialogue produced between the two that I enjoy more...There are obviously many ways to read a painting, but for me, the most compelling story is the one between the lines, the contemplation of the spaces, the very specific narrative that is only revealed when opposing elements are placed side by side...In the end, the paintings simply turned out to be reflections of my fascination with seeming opposites, with meanings within meanings.”

Barbara Kerwin has been working with rectangles and encaustic for over a decade. Each series has reflected her background in sculpture and examined the possibilities of harmony and freedom within containment and structure. In her current series, /Windows/, Kerwin continues her formal, geometric approach, but the work is now activated by irregularity. Negative space is divided asymmetrically into flat acrylic or built-up encaustic rectangles which move around one another in an off-center rotation of color and form.

Kerwin’s Window paintings create an ever-shifting viewing experience.  The buoyant color palette imparts a sense of resolve, while the puzzle-like compositions assert a contrasting dissonance. Where areas are built up, viewers are drawn into translucent veils of velvety wax which are set in high contrast to areas of flat acrylic. These contrasts add to the sense of movement perceived in all aspects of the work - in the jostling rectangles, the surface changes in the encaustic and in the transitions between the shapes. “There is both pleasure and difficulty,” Kerwin states, “in seeking harmony between colors and rectangular shapes, asymmetrically arranged, as in a large puzzle.”

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