CYNTHIA-REEVES is pleased to present new paintings by New York based artist, Erick Johnson, accompanied by
ceramic sculptures by Malcolm Wright. The exhibition opens on February 3rd with an artists’ reception from 5 – 7 pm; the show runs through March 3rd. The gallery is located at the Barn on 28 Main Street, in Walpole, New Hampshire and is open Tuesday – Saturday, 10 – 5 pm.
Erick Johnson pursues a well-defined exploration of color in these rigorous geometric paintings. It is the clear definition of line and grid that provide him with the perfect context for his work with organic palettes: soft blues, muted reds, clear yellows. The current series is about repetition and iteration. Through the use of a recurring device based on squares and triangles, the blurred horizontal bands of color become diffused, as if seen from a fast-moving vehicle.
There is a luscious quality to how Johnson employs the paint, addressing each quadrant of his paintings with great
care and deliberation – all in service of the beautiful tonalities contained in his paintings. They become investigations
of how relationships of rhythm, form and color can convey lived experience and emotion. How do they interact,
particularly when examined against the wish for balance and harmony, which are unpredictable. That instability is
communicated by Johnson’s active brushwork, leading the viewer beyond the boundaries of the canvas.
There is a parallel inquiry in the work of ceramic artist Malcolm Wright. Trained in Japan under the tutelage of one of Japan’s living masters in the ceramic arts, Malcolm has taken the discipline of the craft of working with clay, and fused it with an insistence on surprise, serendipity, and unknowingness. His enduring question is “what if”, as in: what if he allows the clay to simply fold on itself, or collapse in the kiln, or bump shoulders with another piece while being fired….? Each of these free-form experiments yields yet another unexpected form, which otherwise could not come about, and which will never again be repeated. Fearless in his approach, Wright is willing to allow forms to fail, and to be delighted by the outcomes – a different kind of beauty, one that actually mimics much more closely the naturalism of nature itself.
Malcolm Wright lived and worked for decades in the woods of Marlboro Vermont, where he built a 24’ kiln, fired twice annually – an event that became a magnet for friends and admirers to come and watch the marathon firing. He now lives close to Burlington, and has given up the hand-built kiln, making this exhibition of his work a rare and precious opportunity to see these beautiful sculptural forms.