Spring has brought a visually compelling exhibit to ArtSpace Maynard. “Mark of Emotion,” curated by Sallie Strand, presents the stylistically diverse paintings of three accomplished abstract artists, Joanne Holtje, Jane Cohen and Strand.
Having met several years ago in an abstract painting class, Holtje, Cohen and Strand have maintained a professional relationship based on their common vision of abstraction, each whom are engaged in a distinct approach. In her curator’s statement, Strand has likened the artists’ work to Abstract Expressionism — emphasis on process, interior reflection and energetic spontaneity. Significantly in their respective artist’s statements, each artist cites the relevance of intuition as a guide in the exploration her work.
As curator, Strand chose the theme “mark of emotion” since she sees abstract art, both creating it and viewing it, as all about feelings. “It’s about what’s on the inside, so I thought the mark of emotion was an appropriate title because you are making a lot of different marks and different gestures — the way you gesture it, the intensity of the mark, the depth of the mark, the width of mark — and they all carry different weights of emotion. We all have some of that in our work, and all the artwork here plays off of each other. So, the artwork starts to have a conversation about what is going on,” Strand stated.
“I think a lot of people do not understand abstract art because they think they have to see something in it. I think Mark Rothko’s work is a perfect example of Abstract Expressionism because his work is all about feeling. Just the intensity of color. If you stand in front of it, you feel it. People don’t stand in front of the artwork long enough to get that, where they try to see if they see something in there.
“With oil paint, because it takes so long to dry, there’s layers and layers of emotion in there. Just like life, you are a mix of lots of different feelings on different days, and each day you come to view the work, you see something different based on what you’re feeling at the time. It’s not only what the artist was feeling when painting it, it’s also what the viewer is feeling each day that they look at it. That’s what brings different emotions to the work.”