In “entonces” at Sears-Peyton Gallery in Chelsea, Cuban-born and Brooklyn-based Lourdes Sanchez presents a vibrant grouping of formal explorations that hover between abstraction and representation. Working in ink on silk, the artist accesses a playful space between control and acquiescence, understanding her materials to the extent where she creates limits and then sets them free, allowing natural seepage and absorption to determine the form they take.
Described by the artist as touchstone in a life of displacement, the works themselves have a wandering, dance-like feeling of movement. Each exhibits a purposeful attention to tone and rhythm. No matter what their form, the works in “entonces” tend to alternate between darks and lights, and highs and lows, a tempo that carries across from her former practice creating surface designs for fashion designers and fabric makers.
Some works, such as two of her untitled pieces (both 2015), originate from one point, exploding or disappearing into darkness; the shape seems to personify sound, as if blasting from the mouth of a trumpet: washes of blue and black ripple outwards like waves in one; more defined swaths of bold reds, blues, yellows and blacks twist through another. These blasts of color are repeated in the rolling Merengue 6 (2015), a fitting title. Other words are more field-based in their composition. Drum-like staccatos speed across the paper in wet ink in Abstract Dots Small (2014), highly controlled by their gesture but also dependent upon the potential absorption of the ink as it spreads outwards. This flower-like quality is repeated again in looser form with Untitled (2015), which takes a random composition of marks and allows them to come into their own until much of the paper is covered by the deep black and blue.
Sanchez’s interest in the seepage afforded by her materials and her vivid, unapologetic palette shows a clear line back to her color field predecessors of the 1960s—cues from Helen Frankenthaler and Clyfford Still are loud and clear. Held together by material and palette, these works are individualized discrete objects, similar in their visual language but different in their song.
“Lourdes Sanchez: entonces” is on view at Sears-Peyton Gallery, New York, May 21–Jun. 26, 2015.