A soaring show filled with powerful figures and shapes, When Line Becomes Form is an elegant, measured spiritual odyssey. Featuring the art work of Mark Acetelli, Dirk Hagner, Cindy Jackson, Grey James, Joanna Kidd and Miles Lewis, the expressionistic exhibition roams from sculpture to painting and drawing, touching all points between them.
Pasadena based painter Mark Acetelli works in oils and encaustics, layering his canvasses in a kind of emotional abstraction. His figures are ghost-like, souls in migration, images to which the viewer imparts the more concrete elements. Lush and dreamy, these works wander through the mind and take root there, wavering in an emotional wind.
Dirk Hagner uses traditional mediums to create uniquely modern portraits of literary and political subjects. Iconic figures and those whose images just appear familiar are portrayed through a series of large-scale woodblock portraiture. Hagner’s highly stylized works are seemingly elegaic, poignant and cool, involving yet carefully nuanced.
The late Cindy Jackson’s large scale and absolutely magnificent sculptures here are brimming with life. The artist noted that viewers should “Look deeply into my work and you’ll see that it is not about the figure itself, but about the internal emotional worlds that sit within those boundaries.” The entwined and exaggerated shapes of her very-much-alive figures soar through the space they inhabit. It would be impossible for a viewer to not stand beside these figures in awe of their spiritual depth. These are souls frozen in sculpted bodies, to which Jackson pays tribute. The internationally recognized and award-winning artist has created sublime works that serve as a legacy for her own indomitable spirit. To a large extent, these pieces are the center of the exhibit, from which other works spiral out and in, line having fully become form in her works.
Glendale-based artist Grey James’ offers paintings and mixed media, personal, involving accounts of transition both physical and emotional. James creates moving transgender icons, intimate and appealing; a universal sense of beauty and change in these images going far beyond the borders of sexual definition. The works have the quality of religious paintings, a reverence that the viewer finds palpable.
Joanna Kidd’s work forms a different sort of transition: that between the sculptural and painting. Her bas relief portraits are raised in high relief, shaping a highly dimensional, caught-in-motion quality to each portrait. The faces she depicts are detailed and alive, shifting in light and in the viewers relationship to the images, so that they seem to be watching and watchful. Her art contains something quite intensely, universally human, the capture of a living being for a fraught moment in time.
Miles Lewis considers himself a life-drawing artist. Drawing is the medium he uses to shape figures that are fluid and resonant; delicately textured, these works on paper seem ready to shape-shift into something more dimensional. These are carefully wrought creations, studies that make it seem possible they may morph into flesh and blood.
Over all, this exhibit is all about life: the lines that become form are the strands of DNA that create existence. The art is a part of the wonder and artistry of a spiritual universe, a new way of creating the real; expressionist art that expresses the most powerful and graceful embodiment of art itself – the human form, the human spirit.
The show runs through September 1st. The Brand Art Gallery is located at 1601 W. Mountain Street in Glendale.
- Genie Davis; photos: Genie Davis