My Little Rainbow 2016, medium density fiber board, plaster and acrylic paint
Back in May, Rachel Hellman at Galleri Urbane had a spectacular show of shaped, minimalist paintings that used a kind of relief sculpture style, but yet was still a painting. Happening at the same time was the Frank Stella show at the Fort Worth Modern with his hybrids of paintings/sculptures on display. I guess this kind of work is in the zeitgeist, because Conduit Gallery is now featuring Carrie Marill which also plays in this realm of relief painting, but with some noticeable differences that made me pause, think about the work, and then write.
I remember Carrie Marill’s work from a show at the Conduit years ago. This show came with a magnifying glass in order to see the detail, but I remember that my son had said he was looking for clues. This body of work isn’t the whimsical gouache painting, rather the structures give these paintings a little weight. In this body of work, there are three sub categories. One group uses thin lines to accentuate the shape of cut fiberboard, another group looks constructed into stacked thick lines of color, finally the last two paintings use optical illusion create an effect.
The first group of paintings includes works that are filled with one color and then painted with very thin lines of paint that follow along the contours of the shaped object. I enjoyed the craft of the lines and the minimal space she created. The second grouping is made up of constructed stack pieces showing highlighted color and shape. Like the rainbow colored piece titled My Little Rainbow, they seem to exude the feeling of brightness and cheerfulness. B&W is a diptych painting of sharp lines in white and blue. The moment I encountered this work, I immediately thought about works at the Museum of Geometric and MADI Art, here in Dallas. In particular, I was thinking about Roger Bensasson or maybe Luis Guevara Moreno’s purely geometric pieces, but there are a great deal more at the Museum that relate to Marill’s current show. The last group does play with your visual senses a bit. Nothing like Bridget Riley, but I don’t think that was Marill’s aim with these pieces. The goal was not to master an Op illusion, but rather play with the formalist elements of line and shape. The high contrast of black and white push a painter to move in the Op mode of thinking when creating a work. Even a piece like Riley-Sol invokes Riley in the title, but also the visual style of Sol Lewitt. Both artists had different goals, yet were similar sometimes in the results of their play with geometry. Marill attempts to synthesize them in this piece.
Carrie Marill is showing with Sandra Ono, and Marcelyn McNeil. I have written about Ono and McNeil before, but their current shows are well worth your visit. You don’t want to miss McNeil’s cut outs. You only have until October 14th to see all three of their shows at Conduit Gallery.