Galleries around Boston: ‘The Space Between’ and beyond - By Cate McQuaid, July 24, 2012
Last summer, Steven Zevitas Gallery mounted a crackerjack show, “Not About Paint,” that examined how painting has lately flirted, danced, and occasionally mated with sculpture. Now Zevitas offers a buzzy companion exhibition, “The Space in Between,” which addresses artists experimenting with a host of technical processes, including photography.
It is a more contemplative, less antic show. Little intrudes on the viewer’s space. A couple of projectors sit on the floor, and Zevitas has built a darkened video room, but the projected works — painterly videos by Colin Snapp and the team of Dave Miko and Tom Thayer — promote quiet, intimate engagement.
Miko and Thayer’s “A Figure’s Strange Triggered Change” features video projected onto an aluminum panel, which sports painted marks that relate to passages in the video. The projected images verge on abstract; they’re shadowy and overexposed, saturated with color that pings off the aluminum. Its low-to-the-ground installation encourages the sense that you’ve happened on an animated hieroglyph with hallucinogenic color and hints of narrative.
Mariah Robertson and Tamar Halpern use darkroom techniques to create abstractions, such as Robertson’s lush “85,” which drifts with a drippy teal grid over white, interrupted by a black curtain shot with tiny lightning bolts. Ned Vena’s untitled piece made out of adhesive and vinyl on two steel doors looks like an Op Art painting. Lines converge into shimmering swells that imply volume. Sam Moyer’s large ink-on-canvas piece, also untitled, could be a photo of the surface of black water. In fact, Moyer crumpled her canvas to create that rich surface, before mounting it on a wood panel.
There’s nothing new about artists experimenting with techniques; it’s in the job description. The point is that it breaks down boundaries between mediums we have in the past seen as inviolable. Even so, painting ultimately provides the DNA for all these works; everything refers back to the plane and surface of a canvas, and the illusion of depth.