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Between Heaven and Earth - Group exhibition

Art review of Between Heaven and Earth

by Kristen Scholfield-Sweet

The Reticular in Art

A reticular structure is net like; it is a shape formed of cross-linking patterns. A spider’s web is a reticular structure. Elegant. Creative. Interconnected. The exhibition currently showing at the Old Schoolhouse Gallery—Between Heaven and Earth—is a reticular structure. The works of Madhurima Braaten, Dayna Davis, Denise Drury, Lisa Gibbons, Karen McDiarmid, Jane Newman, Caz Ratcliff and Darshan Stevens link together in an elegant, creative and interconnected language of colour, texture, style and meaning.

The viewer is invited into a process of discovery, as if the exhibition were a form of travel into a world that is both revealed and partially hidden. And as always, observation is critical for a successful journey. Here are three ways to see the creative cross-links among the art works using just one art element: the colour red.

Red as Metaphor

The bride among red roses, the warmth of a red-orange boat rocking on a darkling sea, the old red hills in the far distance: each of these images is a metaphor for entering the unknown. Red is not neutral. It produces adrenaline, we react, we want to go.

Red as Atmosphere

A blood-dark passage that echoes a saint’s robes, red layers that compress and direct a way to move through complexity. Red does not allow a blank space; it is the charged atmosphere within which objects and their meanings operate.

Red as Story

One image can be viewed outside of time. But the moment there are two—then the linear unfolding of forms and the experience of the viewer create a narrative structure, a path to follow. Are those flying red dots trapped, or happy in there? If I go into that golden opening, will I emerge in this fiery hearth? Does my intuitive and spontaneous use of an art media replicate the unknown in nature? Our human brain is hardwired for red; its presence is enough to cause us to reassess the meaning of an image, to tell a different story.

Between Heaven and Earth continues June 16, 17, 18. There will be an Artists’ presentation on Friday June 16th at 7 pm at the Gallery. This exhibition is a complex web of linked influences and ways of working; eight artists who together make the familiar unfamiliar. And if you think its not a big deal to create new ways of creative cross-linking, spend some time really gazing at the next spider’s web you see.


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