By Lindsey Davis
Boston, MA – Line and color cut across the canvas chaotically, separated into thick blocks that wave and reverberate inside each rectangular world. Full of whimsical shapes and abstraction, these oil on linen paintings are the most recent work of Barbara Grad, currently on view in her solo exhibition, “Lost Horizons,” at the Howard Yezerski Gallery at 460 Harrison Ave. in Boston.
Some works are busier than others, filling every inch with intersecting lines, but all are complex and deep with layers of design that makes it seem possible to look past what’s right in front of you to something else, something more concrete. “Smarter View” shows disjointed segments of the same patterns floating above empty space, pieces of different puzzles shuffled against an ever-abstract background that fades to sketching, and finally to empty faded linen in the bottom-left corner.
All of the compositions allow for endless interpretations, but some do suggest a more defined shape. “High Voltage Subversion” shows a landscape — wires above layers of earth that melt into oranges and browns. A giant underwear-shaped object floats not far above the ground in “WY026,” a blue rectangle extending from the bottom corners to form the appearance of a floor.
“Grad sees herself as a part of a movement of artists rejecting image and instead accessing space through paint and color,” explains the gallery’s artist statement for the exhibition, “She thinks about David Park’s sense of light traveling through the paint, applying those lessons to her treatment of space and color.“
Seen altogether, Grad’s work creates a vortex of line, shape and color that exists far outside reality. Each painting serves as a window to a world of patterns in motion, repeating organic shapes of carefully chosen color palettes.
(“Barbara Grad: Lost Horizons” continues through March 12 at the Howard Yezerski Gallery, 460 Harrison Ave., Boston. For more information, call (617) 262-0550)