At a Santa Fe Gallery, A Panoply of Vibrant Quilts, Paintings, and Sculptures

Artsy Editorial
Apr 9, 2015 1:56PM

The layout of “Coloring Outside the Lines” at 333 Montezuma Arts is excellent, as far as gallery installations are concerned: rather than being displayed in a way that competes for viewers’ attention, the works are each afforded their own space yet organized so as to enable simultaneous viewing. Interesting juxtapositions abound: Kay Harvey’s vibrant cut-out sculptures echo Mary Lee Bendolph’s quilts, for instance, in terms of their composition style and contrasting graphics.

Installation view of “Coloring Outside the Lines,” courtesy of 333 Montezuma Arts

Artists featured in the show are Agustin Pozo, whose abstract paintings defy characterization; Hank Saxe, who grapples with the limits of sculptural form and whose aesthetic recalls that of Lynda Benglis (perhaps due in part to the technical guidance he has provided her in the past); Harvey, whose vision and process cannot be contained by a ceramic vessel’s usual closed-in form; and Bendolph, who tweaks Alabama’s Gee’s Bend style of quilting to fit her own unique interpretation and personal history. The exhibition is layered and multifaceted in such a way that works seem to ricochet off each other, adding meaning and texture to each artist’s practice.

Just as the curvilinear edges of Harvey’s Ceramic Cut Outs #13 (2014) complement the expressive brushwork of a Pozo painting behind it, Saxe’s Moss Rock (2014) visually echoes portions of Pozo’s Critical Mass (2014). One work in particular stands out: Bendolph’s Housetop Variation (ca. 1980). In this large textile piece, small squares make up larger squares, without the composition being overly geometric or prescribed. Rather, recycled plaid scraps rub up against cheerful yellow bits, with hints of the fabrics’ origins lingering on the fray.

The tradition of Gee’s Bend quilting has been described by the New York Times as “compelling…unlike most quilts in the European-American tradition,” and as including “wild, improvisatory elements: broken patterns, high color contrasts, dissonance, asymmetry, and syncopation.” Perhaps this description can be applied to “Coloring Outside the Lines” at large: it is a collection made up of distinctive works that jive together quite rhythmically.

—Anna Furman

Coloring Outside the Lines” is on view at 333 Montezuma Arts, Santa Fe, Feb. 13–May 30, 2015.

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Installation view of “Coloring Outside the Lines,” courtesy of 333 Montezuma Arts.

Artsy Editorial