Kastner (top), Janson, and Ellis
At first glance, you might
not think these three artists' works have that much to do with one
another. But with extended looking, a number of commonalities emerge
in this interesting exhibit.
Janet Kastner's acrylic and
mixed-media works on paper feature words which blend in and out
of the related imagery superimposed upon them. For example, in the
piece titled Vertigo, the term "vasovagal syncope" is
buried within and beneath a jellyfish image, tilted onto its side.
The term refers to a particular type of fainting, which might make
the person experiencing it feel kind of like, well, a jellyfish.
The collage and encaustic
works of Brad Ellis' "Currents" pieces refer, through
art history, to the works of Pop artists such as Jasper Johns, but
incorporate an Abstract Expressionist element through the use of
overall nonreferential calligraphic brushstrokes. These are superimposed
on a series of stripes or concentric squares that are alternately
opaque and translucent, revealing collaged text. The brushstrokes
and the use of text via collage provide a space for dialogue between
Ellis' works and Kastner's, although Kastner's works use the text
for content whereas Ellis' use it simply for texture. Ellis' use
of the grid provides a common point of departure for his work and
Janson's works are primarily
grid-based, with small squares, individually painted with biologically
oriented images. In several cases, diagrammatic lines visually connect
these squares/images. Diagrammatic imagery has been of interest
to artists for some time now, and it's hard to look at some of Janson's
work without thinking of the diagrams that interested now-deceased
artist Mark Lombardi, although Janson's work makes much heavier
use of color and underlying imagery. In Migration, for example,
a map is superimposed on squares containing such images as flower
bulbs, a paper wasp's nest, bales of hay, and so on. Between these
squares, and relating to the blue map diagram beneath, are drawn
red arrow-lines pointing from position to position. The little squares,
as much as the superimposed lines, are painted with delicacy and
sensitivity. The colors in the artist's work provide a connection
point with Kastner's.
Back to previous page.