December 18, 2008

Chapuis and Mattera: "Stop thinking and just gaze on something beautiful"

In the Boston Globe Cate McQuaid reports that some artists make art not as a means of provocation or cultural commentary, but for beauty's sake. "Katharina Chapuis, who has a show at Alpha Gallery, and Joanne Mattera, who has encaustics (paintings made with pigmented wax) up at Arden Gallery, work in this realm. Both make objects that surprise with nuance, pieces that please the eye simply, after much complicated work....Mattera's new 'Vicolo' series at Arden features dense layers of sprightly toned pigment. Each is opaque, but Mattera makes dozens of horizontal gullies in each, deftly revealing puddles of bright color in the interstices. They read like blinds through which mysterious, swimming landscapes glow. These pieces highlight the artist's delicate, almost surgical touch, as she decides how deep to dig, to which level of color. The joyful tones - periwinkle, buttercup, lollipop red - play together, waking up the weary-eyed. The horizontal veins widen and narrow like rivulets, rushing and imprecise. A lot of contemporary art hinges on meaning - and we can find it in the works of Chapuis and Mattera, who engage in painterly issues about surface. Sometimes, though it's a relief to stop thinking and just gaze on something beautiful." Read more.

"Joanne Mattera: Contemplating the Horizontal," Arden Gallery, Boston, MA. Through Dec. 29.
"Katarina Chapuis: New Paintings," Alpha Gallery, Boston, MA. Through Jan. 7.

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