Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Manic-Cinq, 2015,
etching, 23 3/4 x 23 3/4  inches
Edition of 20    

ModernDallas.net repost by Todd Camplin

This last weekend was quite a feast for the eyes, but I had to cut my visits short because of my own opening. I could have easily been late, because my second to last stop was Cydonia Gallery and the show there completely captivated my imagination. Cydonia’s current show is etchings, lithographs, drawings, and sculptures by artist Bronwen Sleigh. I was fortunate enough to meet Sleigh and we talked about her work. She comes from Glasgow, Scotland and this is her first solo show in the States.

Sleigh draws from architecture and simplicity of the line. I could tell right away that these works were about the sublime and tragic look at human constructed spaces. A counter to the utopian visions of Modernism, Sleigh lays out her lines in a world of grey tones with just a hint of color. Though much of the works are etching and lithography, these works feel like delicate drawings. Of course, part of the etching and lithograph processes are like drawing. I remember fondly my printmaking classes in lithography where I used oil pen on stone to create my images. I think if I ever go back to school, it would be for a printmaking degree, but I digress. Most of Sleigh’s edition runs are small, ranging from 12 to 25 editions, but she also has a piece titled Pacific Quay which has a run of 40. I’d have loved to have seen an etching plate or two of her works.

The sculptures also celebrated line and the architectural structures within a building. I could easily imagine her sculptures as part of a skeleton of a building. I was vaguely reminded of New York artist Moses Hoskins’ abstract paintings which are defined by lines found from furniture and ornamentation on buildings. In contrast, Sleigh seems to invoke the more Modernist buildings, with their clean lines and stripped down minimal quality. Although stacked inside her work are small lines supporting the more defined thinker lines, so the minimal quality is really an illusion, held up by supporting structures. Sleigh is showing a kind of Bowellist style of giving us all the normally concealed parts. A work like North Pier lays bare the normally hidden areas like a blueprint, but so many of the marks don’t feel final. As if these are works in progress or possibilities for the future. Sleigh is tapping into the powerful energy between Being and Becoming, which cannot be resolved. Thus, the work remains interesting and open to interpretation.

Although architecture seems to run through the works quite thoroughly, Sleigh’s work also feels a step away from the source where the lines don’t always make complete sense as a structure with gravity as its limit. So the rules of abstraction seem to take over, where her images become ideal objects or more likely a playful spin on the source material. Sleigh could be foreshadowing future architecture in low gravity orbit, but only time will tell. Cydonia will be displaying Bronwen Sleigh’s work through June 19th.

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