Monday, April 10, 2006



I attended an opening for the local artist Barbara Mink earlier tonight at the Willard Straight Hall Art Gallery. Mink showed twelve pieces from a series of layered, richly textured, drippy oils she calls "Interior Landscapes". While these paintings have titles like "Delta" and "Estuary", this literalness often seems a bit forced. Which isn't to say that they don't evoke natural landscape. They do. They're also reminiscent of Michael Mazur's paintings. You can see more of these interior exteriors on her website.

Unfortunately, the gallery space was too dimly lit to see the work clearly. The austere neo-Gothic interior was however, in a way, a great place to see these paintings insofar as it offset their lush romanticism with something sterner. I saw similar (indeed I believe much of the same) work by Mink last fall at downtown Ithaca's Sola Gallery and liked it quite a bit a less. In part, I think the work is simply growing on me. But I also think I was put off by their presentation there as decorative art, beautiful objects for upper middle class interiors (click on the link above and you'll get the idea). Here they remind me of stained glass windows (albeit without backlighting).

My favorite piece, "Marsh" (see above), felt the most resolved in its balance of different colors and textures. With most of the pieces, the details were more interesting than the wholes. They're often dominated by a single overall color range: green, or in the case of "Desert Sea", yellow-orange. Others introduce fiery red, giving them a dissonant quality which I find over-dramatic. This is most interesting (not necessarily successful) in "Portal" which is also notable for its gridded structure. Red makes an appearance in "Marsh", but the effect is more muted (though not as much as the reproduction would lead you to believe.)

I mentioned Mink's name in a previous post, citing her as one of the few local artists doing innovative, alternative landscape work. I want to promote that. Given my mixed feelings about Mink's actual pieces, I may have been a little bit too generous here. Still, these are pleasurable paintings.

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Blogger Tracy Helgeson said...

Hi Arthur, Nice to read about your thoughts on Barbara's work. She and I will be in a group show (along with Jane Bloodgood-Abrams) in November at Carrie Haddad in Hudson. I look forward to seeing her work in person, and the show will be an interesting combination, as you can probably imagine.

9:17 AM  
Blogger arthur said...

Thanks Tracy. Mink's work definitely looks much better in the flesh.

12:19 PM  

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