Sightlines at Melissa Morgan Fine Art Gallery

Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, “Storm Prototype No.2,” 2006 Edition of 3, Fiberglass and Aluminum alloy foil, 62 x 102 x 57 in, Nellie King Solomon, “Rings Tarnished Gold,” 2021, Acrylic, soda ash, chrystalina on mylar on aluminum, 96 x 96 in, Marek Zyga, “Heaven Wait,” Bronze, 36 x 10 x 12 in, Marek Zyga, “The Jumper,” Bronze, 20 x 16 x 28 in, Richard Erdman, “Firosa,” 2021, Portuguese Rose Marble, 78 x 38 x 26 in.


Melissa Morgan Fine Art Gallery

February 12 through March 3, 2022 

By LORIEN SUAREZ, February 2022

"Sightlines," curated by Andi Campognone, senior curator and director of the Lancaster Museum of Art and History (MOAH), opened at Melissa Morgan Fine Art Gallery in Palm Desert on February 12th and will run through March 3rd. The artworks on display provide the viewer with an excellent contribution to the ongoing influential Southern Californian "Light and Space" movement.

By drawing compelling visual interconnections among the artworks (both through placement and selection), Campognone composes an exhibition field that's open-ended and cultivates a form of attentive perception. A viewer experiences a distributed form of attention over several visual compositional features shared and reflected between the artworks. As a philosopher of perception, Bence Nanay observed that it's less likely perception would thus be constrained solely towards preselected elements deemed relevant by the viewer.

The artworks appear at a spoke of a multi-directional network of exhibit spaces drawn together through formal compositional elements, including line, color, material qualities, dimensionality and form. A cohesiveness appears, although each collected arrangement hub of artists in the gallery salons harnesses a distinct visual identity. The strength of the approach is evident when compared with an earlier exhibition, "Iris Oculus," that Campognone curated at MOAH, where the lines are even more salient.

Mary Anna Pomonis, Lancaster Museum of Art and History, “IrisOculus” exhibition 2020.

The three-dimensional visual cohesiveness of Mary Anna Pomonis' artwork' is palpable within the Museum exhibition, and it smoothly transposes in character beside Anthony James' "New Wall Portal" in "Sightliness." Both artists' mathematical affinities and material differences magnify beside one another. James' lighted 3-D wall sculpture alongside Pomonis' painting recalibrate and refreshes the ongoing conceptual exploration of the nature of space.  

Anthony James' allegorical quest enjoins “Light and Space” dynamics in a dramatic rubric of mirrors and reflected lines of incandescent light that multiply within an infinity of coordinates that appear precisely ordered through progressive planes drawn to concentrate on an infinite open center space. It's a compelling mathematical pursuit and a vibrant, geometric form of expressive beauty. The artist intends to "visually demonstrate the colossally vast and infinitesimally small – the cosmos and the divinity inside oneself." 

Anthony James, Portal Icosahedron, 2018. Steel, glass, LED lights, 40 in.

“Light and Space” reflect and direct perception through the broader framework of connections as an articulated evocation of a cohesive whole. Nellie King Solomon's alchemical art-making process is a visual and phenomenological break towards disorder. Her material admixtures yield novel substances with particular flow mechanics deftly attuned to her "stuff of guts" tensions appearing as surface "corrosion" and "glitz" that mirror gestural-conceptual outlooks. 

Andy Moses' described his work as stimulated by a meaningful process that springs from a grounded contemplation upon a continuously unfolding present aligned with his painting's flow states. The composition builds upon itself, layer upon layer, through a judicious and comprehensive sensibility of fluid dynamics that act upon themselves directionally in the space of his canvas. Moses appears to have a Bergsonian-like understanding of time. The tilting process he employs with his paint-work reaches outcomes that find resonance with natural patterns and rhythms. These natural patterns speak of layered millennia of sediment lines that color canyons and the ephemeral undulations cast by the winds on the surfaces of sand and water.

Andy Moses, Nocturne 1601, 2021. Acrylic on canvas concave wood panel, 60 x 90 in.

Marcia Roberts is unique in the exhibition as one of the original members of the iconic "Light and Space" movement. Her contributions to the movement have yet to be fully recognized today. She presents a sophisticated phenomenological exploration and understanding that she achieved through "patient" awareness of the temporal-elemental effects of light. The formal composition and material techniques achieve a time sensitivity of responsively adaptive painted surface variability. 

"If one invests time, the painting becomes many paintings. I went back to the painting and brush to try to achieve an ever-changing painting as light changes through the course of the day." Roberts's material process and conceptual awareness align with an essential quality where time defines physical form. "What you perceive in the first five seconds is different than what you see ten seconds later or two hours later when the light in the room has changed, or you are standing at a different angle, different distance.

Marcia Roberts, Cadiz Dunes, 40 x 43 in.

Nowadays, the contributions of artists in their historical contexts are paramount, especially for under-represented parties, to evolve an expansive awareness of the long-established and surveyed art movement. The exhibition aims to broaden, deepen and fine-tune the ongoing process of furthering our historical knowledge of this important genre within contemporary art. Efforts towards the recognition and re-integration of community movements through curatorial concepts such as those by Campognone in collaboration with Melissa Morgan Fine Art gallery and its management of the Roberts' living trust are noteworthy for their knowledgeable efforts towards furthering the recognition of the artists' legacies. 

Jane Bennett, a materialist philosopher, introduces a conceptual framework to contemplate Walt Whitman's poetic understanding of the sea in her writing of "Influx and Efflux." As a creative comparison, the work of "Sightlines" artists highlight an analogous conceptual achievement. The sea's ebb and flows highlight Whitman's poetic vision. There is a permeable connection between things and a holistic transcendence moving towards aesthetic universals that allow for a simultaneous distinctiveness. As Bennett observes, all "give out from themselves particles of their coded substances –essences, residues, or other active influences-that may then reproduce in others something of the nature of the persons in whom they have originated"  while still appreciating the original matter of "how to bespeak of an I alive in a world of vibrant matter?

Marek Zyga, I Am Here, 14 x 10 x 63 in.

Many artworks reflect on light and suggest a connection and further exploration of the original notion of "Claritas” attributed to Thomas Aquinas' philosophical concept of Divine Light. And it also extends to aesthetic explorations alongside the nature of perception. There's an indication that the artists' creativity extends to an "experience of being continuously subject to influence and [yet] still managing to add something to the mix." Aligned with these reflections, Marek Zyga's sculpture "I am Here," among other "Sightlines" artists, redirects this query further. “Sightlines” inquiry could be said to align with metaphysical and materialist reflections. The show draws forward a new series of considerations over the definition of space and light. As Bennett observes, it's to "return to the question of I, to try to depict, amidst a world of diverse efforts and trajectories, that particular set that is experienced as most local, [and] most personal?" WM


Lorien Suárez-Kanerva

As a Geometric Abstract artist, Lorien Suárez-Kanerva explores the dynamic interplay of color, light, and geometric patterns found in nature and the cosmos.  A Retrospective of Lorien’s work titled “Coalescing Geometries” won First Place in Non-Fiction at the 2019 International Latino Book Awards. She has exhibited in several curated solo and group shows in NYC, Los Angeles, and Miami. Her artwork appears at International Art Fairs and educational centers including Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton Museum of Art, and UC Berkeley’s Engineering Department. Lorien resides in Palm Desert, California.

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