Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Katie Maratta + Randy Twaddle

Randy Twaddle - DLD #14Distribution Line Drawing, 2011
Ink and Coffee on paper - 16 x 12 inches
My art review repost in Austin in November 2011

D Berman Gallery is opening Saturday, November 5th with an exhibition of artists Katie Maratta and Randy Twaddle. These two artists have created painstakingly detailed work and Maratta is exhibiting some of her beautiful landscapes this month, but Twaddle has broken from his past and has allowed some random elements, which add a great deal to his work.

I first encountered Katie Maratta’s work in the back room of a Houston gallery. I was stunned by the meticulousness and intensity of the piece. Maratta gives you the experience of a photorealist with the twist of the long and thin format. It reminds me of the Texas landscape, where on a clear day, you can see for miles in every direction. If you look really close to Maratta’s work, you will see the tiniest of detail. She uses the traditional precision orientated medium of graphite and pen, but an impressive twist to her realism is her use of pastels. I can at test from personal experience that pastels are not known for their ability to create fine detail. Only an extremely skilled hand could make such a medium respond with such accuracy.

Randy Twaddle's stained background and high contrast black power lines play with the fractal shapes of similar elements. The drips of the coffee stains look like the power lines in the foreground. Both the coffee and the power lines are charged with energy. Both power our lives and livelihoods, keep us awake and on time. I can image smelling the coffee and feeling the electricity course through my veins. I love how black the power lines seem compared to the coffee stains. I don’t think these paintings would have worked as well without this contrast. I really respond to the order and chaos in this work. I have seen Twaddle's work before, but this work is very different, before he was making drawings of text on flowing and folding banners. These 'reversal drawings' are really quite stark and beautiful.

When I see an artist shift in such an interesting way, I get excited. Randy Twaddle has really changed my perspective on what this artist is all about. And you just have to admire an artist like Katie Maratta. She turns landscape drawing into something new and exciting. Revisiting old subject matter and making it fresh is one of the hardest challenges for an artist and Maratta’s skillfully accomplishes this task. A great show to see, it runs through December 3rd.
For more images of the show visit

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