Alexis Granwell - Eternal City (displaced and replaced) - 2011, Etching and drypoint with monotype on handmade abaca paper 48 x 60 in. (50 x 62.5 in. framed)
A repost of my ModernHouston.net art review in March 2012
Bryan Miller Gallery offers up three "landscape" artists, Scott Everingham, Alexis Granwell, and Ken Millington in a show titled "Slow Release." I put quotes around landscape, because these three artists make art work that skirts around the edges of what defines a landscape. Being on the edge of a defined idea, to me is themost interesting place for an artist to be.
Scott Everingham takes an almost surreal approach to creating a scene. Everingham’s backgrounds are like the infinite spaces you find in Yves Tanguy’s work. Even some of the painterly shapes have a little of that Tanguy feel. I instantly was attracted by the painting titled “Neighbourly.” I found hints of the possible image of a rusty old playground to be hauntingly nostalgic. I get the feeling of a bitter sweet memory in this work.
Ken Millington moves closest to a defined landscape with recognizable land cues of sky, ground, clouds, and evidence of the effect of water on the ground. But like the great British watercolorist Turner, Millington makes the paintings feel atmospheric and hazy. The edges of ground and sky fade into each other and the land seems to flow from feature to feature.
Alexis Granwell is allowing just the line from the etching process and the roughness of the handmade abacá paper to create the feeling of ancient landscape. I think back to those old line drawings in journals by explorers and conquistadors. Granwell’s etchings are as mysterious as the legendary city of gold. You can search for meanings in the work from the images and clues are dropped in the title, but the search for full disclosure of Granwell’s meanings could become a lifelong quest. The paper’s lines, cracks, and imperfections act as the ground, while also simulating a feeling of a piece made hundreds of years ago. I had to look up the abacá paper making process. Apparently, abacá is from the banana family and the fibers are used to make paper products such as tea bags or vacuum bags. Granwell has found that the fibers also make a very interesting surface to print these large works.
As I look back to the show, “Slow Release,” I think Bryan Miller Gallery released powerful ideas represented by each artist. Scott Everingham releases memories, Alexis Granwell releases time, and Ken Millington releases space. April 7th is the last day to see these three artists and their bodies of work together at Bryan Miller Gallery.
For more images of the show visit ModernHouston.net.