The color green is one of healing, growth and renewal. It is the color of plants, youth, good luck, camouflage, money and even envy. After a long winter, Brickbottom Gallery’s new exhibit “GREEN” invites viewers into their white wall gallery fully immersed in the color green through the artwork on the walls. Developing and established artists showcase their work together, providing their own interpretations and visions about this color that surrounds our everyday lives. Many reach towards nature for inspiration, crafting their pieces with various materials. As spring brings rain to the New England area, this exhibit provides a small retreat to feed our creativity and imaginations.
On three vertical canvases, Pauline Lim’s acrylic and gold metal leaf painting, “Leave No Trace,” carries viewers atop forests dabbled with lime and olive greens. In the first canvas, a small girl in a red dress with outstretched arms flies in an upward motion, implying her travel to the other two canvases. The forest scene continues to the next two canvases although they are separated with wall space in between. In small capital letters, the phrase “leave no trace” also moves throughout the final canvases, but they remain hidden amongst the dense trees. The horizon line of fading blue arches in a half-moon shape, almost portraying the entire scene as a representation of the spherical earth. A serene peace flows from the canvases and for Lim, an artist who lives and works at Brickbottom, creating art is a way to release emotion. Suffering from severe depression her whole life, many of her pieces contain the theme of death, where this one could be interpreted as a flight into the afterlife.
With green-tinted paper and green watercolors, Erik Schmidt portrays the color theme in his drawing, “Gareen,” of a garfish. As a tattoo artist for over 10 years at Neptune Tattooville in Neptune, New Jersey, Schmidt captures the aquatic nature of the color green, its ferocity and its vibrancy. The fish’s body curves across the page with its open, elongated jaw and sharp teeth. Its scales range from hints of blue, coral and brown, but an overwhelming sense of green still remains. Schmidt’s clean lines and exceptional use of color to accentuate the garfish’s curved motion brings life to this piece that depicts a fish originating at the end of the Jurassic period about 200 years ago. It also interesting shows how tattoo art can inhabit the same space as the fine art pieces, still holding the same energy of evolution and renewal.
In the corner of the gallery, black paper cuttings of butterflies fly up to the ceiling in this piece titled “Monarch” by Randal Thurston. Thurston’s passion for hand-cutting such intricate silhouettes for about 25 years helps him “to reduce drawing to its most elemental form.” Upon first observing the display, viewers may not notice any sense of green, but through further inspection, viewers can see a faint green light cast on the wall behind the butterflies from a green paper strip on the backs of each. Thurston’s work is meditative for him and much of it centers around the theme of memory. “Monarch” can transport viewers back to a garden scene from childhood or one of blooming spring.
(“GREEN” remains on view through May 18 at Brickbottom Gallery,1 Fitchburg Street, C-111, Somerville, Massachusetts. For more information, call (617) 776-3410 or visit brickbottom.org.)