Friday, June 17, 2011

"Summer" at Rebekah Jacob Gallery

I stopped by Rebekah Jacob Gallery on my way home from some errand and unexpectedly viewed their new show pre-opening night. They've got the usuals: Tim Hussey, Timothy Pakron, Kevin Taylor. Their pieces are definitely worth another look as they're best viewed in person. Hussey's scraped and lightly sculpted surfaces, Taylor's smoothly glazed paintings and Pakron's large hand-processed photographs are more rewarding to see up close than photographed. There was also photography by Richard Sexton of the demolished crumbling building variety. I spent a long time looking at his photos, fantasizing about history in general, and feeling very Charlestonian.

My favorite, though --and SEE IT if you didn't see it at the Gibbes last year!!-- was Brian Rutenberg, who had two pieces up. I took myself out for my birthday to the Gibbes last year (or '09 maybe?) in time to see his show in that second-floor ballroom type gallery. The room has some sort of cupola-skylight thing, if I remember correctly, and a worn light wood floor, historical moulding, and double doors leading to a schmancy second gallery with ornate old globe chandeliers and large windows. The work itself was a series of medium-to-very-large canvases loosely--LOOSELY--depicting scenes from the woods in a very abstract, thickly painted, richly colored style. The sense of light filtering through branches and perspective was conveyed through saturated color and Diebenkorn/early Mondrian-style blocks of paint, with plenty of fractured, faceted shapes and a rich variety of brushstrokes and paint application. The paintings fit perfectly in the space: old/modern contrast, and both sharing a filtering of natural light in an almost sanctified space.

So, when I saw the to pieces at Rebekah Jacob Gallery I was disappointed at first, as that space is your typical white box, small and narrow with recessed lighting and a window at the front. But it turned out to be a more intimate place to view them. What was a medium size in the Gibbes seemed large in this gallery, and since there were only two I stopped for longer, looked closer, and appreciated the inner dynamics of the composition, which is rich, lively, and well-resolved. I could compare them to each other. Oddly, the space made them seem more "modern art"-y: paint for paint's sake, formal, angular and blunt,while at the Gibbes they seemed more narrative and lyrical. I have a serious art crush on this painter, so go see this stuff!!

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