14, 1997, Sunday
LONG ISLAND WEEKLY
Wainscott Gallery, 354 Montauk Highway, Wainscott. To Dec. 31.
It is the time of year when a gallery is likely
to mount a show that reviews its interests and perhaps jumps ahead
with additional artists and meaty new work. At the Wainscott Gallery,
a 20-artist presentation includes large scale pieces, offers several
works that are particularly engaging and gives the appearance
of considerable breadth.
Two vibrant wall pieces and an oddly sensory
installation of totemic-like columns wrapped in schematically
painted canvas provide a rewarding view of Alan Shields's original
blending of exuberance with well-defined minimalist shapes and
non-traditional materials used for expressive purposes. Everything
combines in surface schemes that seem to be searching for a visual
pace. There are loose threads, jarring colors and patterns, and
an emphasis on the kind of detail within detail that allows control
to be an additional component.
Mounds of dried leaves, flowers and grasses
have a role in the show's other massive floor piece, Christa Maiwald's
''Hide and Seek,'' which evokes the dark side of childhood games.
The action of materials is important, too, in several high-impact
pieces. Zigi Ben-Haim uses varied soft, irregular brush markings
and textures on tough, reflective aluminum to create energetic
wall pieces that take part of their punch from the way they handle
emblematic forms. More intimate in scale, Mike Solomon's ''Corn,''
in beeswax and ink, also works effectively with the way we perceive
Royce Howes and Gerard Verdijk stand out for
the way their loose, sketchy definitions makes their scant imagery
seem to belong to some suspended time-space zone. There is also
some smart, resonant abstraction by Christine Olsavsky and Nancy
Steinson and a notable monotype by John Chamberlain that turns
boxer shorts into a shape with a totally new character and texture.
Jane Johnson's synthesized abstractions of tree
studies made in Italy warrant attention in the gallery's second
exhibition space. But the star in this section is easily Ellen
Frank, who is showing gemlike examples in gold leaf, copper and
egg tempera from her ''Persian Studies'' series along with the
massive ''Language of Women,'' a particularly memorable piece.
This major comment on archaic styles and on the continuity of
potent expression features a 7-foot-high gold form that blends
the lushness of blurred, metallic colors with the commanding presence
of a devotional object.
Published: 12 - 14 - 1997 , Late Edition - Final , Section 14LI
, Column 1 , Page 26