Must-see exhibit at the Frameworks Gallery

June 3, 2012

The current show at the Frameworks Gallery, “Polly Norman – Summer Blast,” offers an unexpected treat—while Norman’s photography alone is worth seeing, it is sharing space with some very fine paintings and sculptures by a diverse group of artists.  

Hugo Mercado, a painter who recently moved here from Cajamarca, Peru, is showing works that capture the colors and popular culture of his native land. His oils on canvas are painted with strong, impasto brushwork in bold primary and secondary colors. In “Clarin y Caja,” two Andean musicians play the clarin and caja, the traditional trumpet and drum used in a spiritual ritual created during the colonial period. Mercado states that the melancholy sounds of these instruments “reflect the same history of submission that the natives experienced.” The contorted figures seem trapped inside the painting’s frame, threatening to burst through its edges, but the composition works because of Mercado’s impeccable sense of design.

Mercado’s oils painted over carved pine are innovative, producing a shimmering effect as the light bounces off the carved edges. “Pastora 2 (Shepherdess 2)” is a jewel-like scene of a woman tending sheep. The figures, including the sheep, have their backs to the viewer and are walking towards a distant house, creating a sense of depth in this unusual but harmonious composition.

Joshua Cunningham’s plein air paintings are a dynamic symphony of color, light and texture. “Against the Wind” sets sunlit trees and grasses against deep purple shadows, with the lively brushstrokes in the sky creating a wonderful sense of movement. In “Red Carpet for Mount Baker,” nature’s greens are brought to life by the red expanse of flowers in the foreground. “Wolf Moon Rising” is more subdued, gently depicting the wintry season and quiet time of evening when one might encounter a wolf moon.

Derek Davis has the ability to capture nature’s movement with energetic brushwork and a few beautiful colors and shapes. “Touch of Red” is a blustery winter scene with subtle warm and cool tones in the snow that draw the eye around the painting. “Fall Colors,” in brilliant reds, oranges and greens, is a fleeting impression of an autumn day composed entirely in color and form—each stroke of the brush creates a shape, which plays off the shape and color next to it until the form of a tree, river bank, or reflection emerges.

Linda Ann Taylor’s porcelain sculptures are delicate pieces that nevertheless possess a strength and dynamism that keeps us spellbound. “Sprouts” writhes, twists and folds, revealing inner forms and shapes that make us want to walk around and enjoy the work from all angles.

And finally, Polly Norman’s photographs are simply exquisite. Her colors bring to mind some of Nolde’s florals, and her technique of shooting through glass block to warp her images produces a soft, flowing, water-color effect.  

The Frameworks Gallery consistently shows some of the best local art, and this show will not disappoint. Don’t miss it, because it’s rare to find quality works in so many media under one roof.

The show will run through July 11. For more information, call Frameworks at 651-698-3372, or check out their website:  http://www.frameworksmn.com/gallery-current-show.html

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