Oct 12th 2014

The Riverside Arts Center is pleased to present two concurrent solo exhibitions. On display in the north gallery, “Always in the Dark” features new work by Erin Washington. Washington’s paintings, drawings and recent installation work mine the vernacular of science to question the notion of truth: whether it is something that can be defined. With pop cultural references serving as an entry point, ranging from Time Magazine and National Geographic to art history and Greek mythology, Washington’s practice reflects a distinctly personal mythology.

Working in ephemeral materials including paint, chalk, organic berry pigment and blood, Washington embarks on an existential search as she layers multiple marks and erasures over time. The erasures are not corrective, but rather serve to record what was “correct or truthful” in a given moment. The resulting palimpsests contain richly layered meaning as the rules for the work shift and change through the process of making.

Experiencing Washington’s work is a kind of visual excavation, as the intricate layers convey a subtle yet powerful metaphor. Much like accepting the uncertainty inherent to the pursuit of a serious artistic practice, Washington suggests that the ultimate heroic gesture is embracing ambiguity and the passage of time.

On display in the south gallery is Abundant Gesture, featuring new work by Cameron Harvey. Exploring the formal qualities and boundaries of painting, Harvey mines paint and the use of material to engender an experience specifically related to the human body. Her painterly gestures, made with intention, are at once bold and abundant in their physical presence.

Watching the evolution of Harvey’s practice over the past few years, she has consistently maintained an investigation of biological phenomenon related to the body – be it breath, fluid, organs, excrement and lately the embodiment of physical presence through trace of mark and gesture. This latest series of work seems to be the most direct approach: pushing against minimalist and hard-edged abstraction there are no straight lines or edges to be found here. Rather, there is an insistence on the roundness and fullness of curves, the liveliness of color. Hovering between painting and sculpture, with the recent playful incorporation of spray foam, round, bulbous, chunky, oozing, squishy, fecund and fertile are all descriptions that come to mind. Harvey cultivates a corporeal viewing experience that leaves one sated, embracing the notion of the gesture as an act of generosity towards the viewer.

–Karen Azarnia

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