Figure and Form
Rebecca Kinkead: New Paintings
Janet Rickus: New Paintings
and in the New Gallery Annex thru May 30:
a Julie Levesque installation: SIFT
Janet Rickus is meticulous in her approach to the still life compositions she renders in oil on canvas and panel. Mostly self-taught, Rickus has applied her deft hand to painting the forms of fruits, vegetables, vessels, and linens arranged on shelves for over a decade. She does not alter the shapes, sizes, or tones of the objects before her in the studio, choosing rather to accurately capture their natural permutations. Carefully composed according to form and color, the objects assume personalities that convey a study of personal relationships and attitudes. The stilled objects become animated, turning toward and seeming to gaze at one another, instilling the work with a unique and contemporary take on the history of the still life.
Rickus received the Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Grant in Painting in 2006. Her work has been shown in galleries across the northeast, including Hoorn-Ashby in New York, and was the subject of a solo exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, MA in 2001. Rickus lives and works in Great Barrington, MA.
Hushed yet compelling figures in meditative positions convey a strong sense of emotion and weighted meaning in Rebecca Kinkead’s most recent work. The generously applied paint is built up in a tactile way, dripping and puckering to create rich surfaces on which the kneeling and cross-legged figures sit. These figures are contemplatively bracing themselves to negotiate the turmoil of what could be personal relationships, illness, economic hardship, or other world news events. The movement from one painting to the next has the potential of becoming a plaintive exercise except that Kinkead has successfully instilled these deeply provocative works with a sense of hope and recovery.
A graduate of the University of Vermont and Minnesota State University, Kinkead has been featured in solo and group exhibitions at school galleries through the United States and, locally, at the New Art Center and Cushing Martin Gallery at Stonehill College. In 2004, she received the Ballinglen Arts Foundation Fellowship. figure & form is Kinkead’s fourth solo exhibition at Clark Gallery.
In a new annex space adjacent to the main gallery we are honored to present Julie Levesque's Sift. Twenty feet in diameter, Sift presents a single, life-sized figure on hands and knees crawling along a circular, white, wooden track raised off the floor. She is clothed in a cotton garment that has been soaked at the bottom with supersaturated salt water which is now dried and crystallized. The top surface is not solid, but is faced with semi-transparent overlapping screen. The screen is covered with coarse rock salt that has been parted as if the figure has been crawling around the circuit. The floor below the track is dusted with fine salt that appears to have been ground through the screen as her hands, knees, and feet drag along the surface. An audio track chants in the background - a contemporary mass combined with organ and breath.
Levesque's Sift becomes an act of mythological endurance and repetition. Timed and timeless, it is a study of faith – faith as it intersects with belief, meditation, and sacrifice. It both honors and questions the holding of ideas without reason and evidence.