In 2012 Joanne Mattera turned the 12 x 12 inch square that she had been working with for several years forty-five degrees and began exploring the possibilities of working on a diamond-shaped support. “The grid remains the focus of my formal concerns, but the diagonal allows me a different way to approach it,” Mattera writes. Using intuition rather than calculation, she divides the diamonds horizontally, noting that the division isn’t “mathematical but it is precise, allowing me to resolve relationships of color and shape in a way that is new to me. In some paintings, the grid appears to be quietly disassembling; in others, all the pieces seem to have clicked into place.”
(Image above: Joanne Mattera, Diamond Life 27, 2013, encaustic on panel, 12 x 12 inches.)
In “Chromatic Geometries,” her seventh solo exhibition at Arden Gallery, Mattera has decisively moved away from the layered, atmospheric approach of earlier “Silk Road” and “Vicolo” series to explore, with her customary virtuosity, the possibilities of figure-ground relationships and the illusionistic space conjured by dividing the square into two horizontal rectangles. As usual, Mattera demonstrates tremendous mastery over her materials and a seductive approach to color, while introducing some quirky compositional strategies. Although she usually discusses her work in terms of formal exploration, the timeless fascination of the figure-ground reversal that points to our shifting notions of meaning and perception is compelling on a metaphorical level as well.
“Joanne Mattera: Chromatic Geometries,” Arden Galery, Boston, MA. Through September 30, 2013.
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