Another exhibition to catch is Joan Wadleigh Curran’s Accumulation, at Seraphin Gallery through February 3rd. The Philadelphia artist uses gouache on black paper to create intricate compositions of a wide range of found objects. The bright colors that she uses, set against the flat dark background, add a surreal quality to the carefully constructed images. Through the use of different textures, she creates a play between multiple dimensions, using the paper as both a surface and a void.
Reminiscent of baroque still-lifes (in composition, set-up, color and arrangement), these works offer a critique of excess and waste. The Dutch baroque still-lifes known as vanitas paintings were meant to portray the transient nature of worldly things. Wadleigh Curran’s paintings seem to offer a similar critique, but also add a commentary on human excess and indulgence: we not only exhaust nature’s abundance, we also choke its beauty with our “discarded things” and our waste. Wadleigh Curran recovers the beauty in these discarded objects, but it is a strange and ominous beauty, suggestive of nature in distress, of the destruction of the natural order of things.
Wadleigh Curran’s works combine the stark graphic qualities of the medium with the organic softness of the carefully constructed compositional arrangement. The result is intriguing; the images are quite engaging.
A more thorough review of Accumulation can be found on The Art Blog.