fluid | video
From Saturday’s Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Apr. 15, 2011 5:00PM EDT
Emily Schaefer and Frances Thomas at Telephone Booth Gallery
Until April 30, 3148 Dundas St. West, Toronto
Schaefer’s liquidy, blob-dappled canvases are a swell counterpoint to Thomas’s pencil-scratched, itchy Petri dish close-ups. And neither artist is afraid of melted-candy hues.
Both Emily Schaefer and Frances Thomas work in fluid acrylics but approach the medium in different ways.
Emily combines poured, abstracted shapes on a solid impenetrable background, often with a build up of material. Her intense, minimalist paintings capitalize on the smooth fluidity of the paint, with strong contrasts in colour and surface. Her support of choice is panel. Conversely, Frances creates diffuse layered compositions using complementary colour and a variety of mark-making. The surfaces are imbued with a rhythm and energy. Persistent themes in Thomas’s work include restlessness, anticipation and that which is unknown or unknowable. The works in FLUID are on paper but many of Frances’ larger works are on panel. She recently exhibited numerous paintings in “but wait” at the MacLaren Art Centre in Barrie. http://www.canadianart.ca/online/reviews/2010/01/07/frances-thomas/
Both artists work intuitively and improvisationally. Each work is created “in the moment.” Colour, composition, shape and relationships are all important factors during the creation process. Frances strives for complexity, layering, dynamism; a richness that holds the viewer. Emily constantly re-examines the work as it unfolds. She strives to achieve the perfect tension in each work – between colour, texture, figure and ground.
My work focuses on the physical application of medium to surface; exploring the relationship between the individually poured forms and the solid, opaque painted ground. At times the paint is manipulated on the canvas with direct purpose, other times it is left to its own device. Working flat, paint is poured, spread, dripped, and manipulated on the surface. It poses the question as to whether paint is an object, a subject, or even both in a single instance.
Each piece is heavily weighted on the intuitive steps taken to create the finished work. Each form or paint application is considered and reconsidered several times before being applied to the surface. The paintings become a mental game of tug of war, as each work evolves around constant decision-making.
Persistent themes in my work include restlessness, temporality, anticipation and that which is unknown or unknowable. Relying on an improvisational playing out of materials and ideas I attempt to create a poetic distillation of thought and sensation. I am interested in shifting space, still points that are not still at all, a sensual space of fleeting connection, the exquisite tension between isolation and belonging. The composition is at its most exciting for me when it barely holds together. It is on the edge of the image, between forming and fixity, where a wider reality can be seized.