By Lindsey Davis
Jamaica Plain, MA – “Canyon Passages” sits along the back wall of the UForge Gallery, inviting you in from the sidewalk through the clear glass. There are eight paintings in all, completed with deep dripping reds and oranges that expose passages of canyon wall without ever revealing the canyon itself. It’s both a study and a celebration of nature, each identically shaped canvas showing a completely different formation of fault lines and indentations, shadows and weather marks.
By zooming in and placing the rock out of context, you find yourself looking for shapes in the lines. Some find organic abstract compositions and others have more purposeful outlines that resemble figures or faces often hinted at in the title. “Horse Canyon #2” shows a passage of sharp jagged rock with dark deep-cut crevices that run horizontally across, resembling the surreal skeleton of a horse.
Seven identically sized canvases hang across this back wall as a part of UForge’s Revolver exhibit that showcases a new artist every month. “Canyon Passages” does contain one smaller canvas, propped up in the corner on a wooden easel beneath the rest of the series. “Chaco #6” has one of the most organic compositions of line and color, the rock folds and creases like fabric, dripping with age. The soft lines mold to encompass the leaf-like shape that shines gold against the deep reds and oranges of the surrounding rock.
These paintings stem from David Thomas’ study of the sandstone canyons in New Mexico and Arizona, where he’s been examining and interpreting their likenesses for more than 10 years. Thomas shares his love of art teaching in Boston public schools and has shown in galleries in both Boston and Santa Fe. “Some of the paintings are impressions of the undulating surface of the wind-eroded or water-stained stone,” UForge commented, “others intend to suggest the interplay between man-made textures and natural textures and forms.”
(“Canyon Passages” will be on view through February 10 at the UForge Gallery, 767 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain, Mass. An artist reception is being held Thursday, February 7 from 6-8 p.m. For more information, call (617) 553-4480.)