By Kristin Wissler
The “Atmosphere to Edge” exhibition at the Kingston Gallery is a study of spectrum: A spectrum of sharp lines to soft edges, or, in the words of curator Jennifer Moses, “a spectrum of solutions,” ranging from “smoky to graphic.” The exhibition features work by Jeffrey Hull, Shona Macdonald, Craig Hood, Rick Fox, Leslie Roberts, Nona Hershey and Helen Beckman. Each artist is different from the other, and their pieces reflect that. Yet the selected works come together as a seamless exhibition that portrays the theme well.
“I chose artists I already knew, and artists that I knew were religious in painting,” said Moses, explaining how she selected artists for the exhibition. Most of the works she selected are drawings in various mediums as opposed to paintings. This was deliberate, for, as Moses explained, “drawing is the foundation for painting.”
On the softer, more atmospheric side of the selected works is “Hallowed Ground” by Craig Hood. Graphite is artfully smudged across the surface to create a dark, foggy scene. So foggy, in fact, that it’s difficult to pick out individual details, apart from a shed, two men and a flag waving in the distance. One man in the foreground faces the viewer, the other looks away. The piece has a melancholy feeling to it, while also radiating deep calm.
“A few years ago my figures migrated to a new territory, which has as its leitmotif the image of the river,” Hood writes of his figure-in-landscape work in his artist statement. “I think at the time I was looking for something different in my work: a different place.” His pieces for “Atmosphere and Edge,” including “Hallowed Ground,” encapsulate this need for change.
Helen Beckman’s work, on the other hand, is comprised of sharp, light lines, shown in her piece titled “Writer.” Its most prominent feature is a bird taking a step, standing on paper scraps. Each penciled line wavers on the page, as though it was scratched out through a tremendous effort. But the lines can be precise when they need to be, as they are in the bird’s talons.
Beckman’s artist statement points to her purpose; she says that her “goal is ultimately to tangle, cut, and retie the relationship of the physicality of the medium and what it represents.” Indeed, “Writer” succeeds in that regard, being a drawing created by utensil most often used for writing.
On a larger scale, the range of work being shown in “Atmosphere to Edge” fulfills this purpose as well, by detailing a long and varied spectrum of hard lines to soft without becoming muddled in the process.
(“Atmosphere to Edge” runs through July 31 at the Kingston Gallery, 450 Harrison Ave. #43, Boston, Mass. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday from noon-5 p.m. and by appointment. For more information, call (617) 423-4113.)