By Kate Kenney
Boston, MA – Imagine a room made up of contrasting colors, pulsating yellows and deep sparkling plums. That is what you’ll see when you enter Marjorie Kaye and George Shaw’s “The Poetics of Space” exhibition at Atlantic Works Gallery in East Boston. Walking through the studio, you are arriving into a world of vibrant 2D and 3D objects. To the left, twisting wooden sculptures of wood painted ombre pop, drawing viewers closer. To the right is a room to both compliment and contrast. It is Shaw’s constructions of wood panels, swathed in rich jewel tones.
Kaye’s rainbow hued sculptures draw from the sensation of “listening to Bach notation,” the artist explained. It is as if each layer of wood represents the rising and falling of notes, and at times, evoking an optical illusion. Along the wall, paintings of swirling primary colors compliment the vibrant life of the 3D sculptures. The natural rise of each sculpture and its organic form immediately draws the viewer’s gaze downward. It is here that a multi-colored piece grows out of the floor like a stalagmite. It is titled, Sequence 5 – Ponticello (Navigation). Created with house paint and wood, its lime green stem gracefully tappers down into a stacked collection of pebble-like pieces of cut wood. One would wonder if perhaps they have just stumbled upon a peculiar plant rising off the dust of a distant planet. Kaye’s natural shapes, paired with vibrant hues, creates an other-worldly collection.
Across the room Shaw’s pieces evoke a moodier tone. Also working with wooden construction, Shaw creates a balance of light and dark. A subtle dusting of gold gives each work a luxurious texture as well as a sort of luminous glow. While each piece is fairly minimal, subtle details, such a small pieces of latticed metal, give each work depth and elegance. Found objects, such as fragments of molding, create a feeling of dismantled sophistication. In Journey, made of oil paint and cold wax on wood panels, deep blue and rich eggplant are brought to life by small accent of gold. A ladder-like structure runs through the middle of the piece, bringing the viewers eye to the center. Here a bare piece of wood sits as a perfect square. It evokes simplicity while insisting on the importance of detail. The use of cold wax gives the piece both texture and the implication of time having passed.
“The Poetics of Space” invites you into two opposing but complimentary worlds. A lightness lives in Kaye’s work, evoking the colors of a summer afternoon or a childlike daydream. Beside it, Shaw’s pieces are rich and luminous like the grand shelves of a mahogany lined library swathed in velvet curtains. Both artists’ works live in their simplicity while simultaneously beckoning the viewer closer with their delicate details.
(“Marjorie Kaye and George Shaw: The Poetics of Space” continues through October 29 at Atlantic Works Gallery, 80 Border St., Boston, Mass. The gallery is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 2-6 p.m. or by appointment. For more information, call (857) 302-8363.)