Friday, June 28, 2013

Mara De Luca at Quint and Hunt Slonem at Madison by Cathy Breslaw

Quint Contemporary Art, La Jolla, CA

“Even If The Lights Go Out”: Mara De Luca

Review by Cathy Breslaw

MARA DE LUCA – Even If The Lights Go Out | June 8 – July 27, 2013

“Even If The Lights Go Out” is an exhibition of acrylic and mixed media collage paintings by Los Angeles based artist Mara De Luca.These ten large scale abstract works were inspired by the mystical poet Rainer Maria Rilke’s collection called“ Duino Elegies”. De Luca’s works strongly reference sweeping gestural landscapes – some giving subtle indications of vistas with hills and sky while others suggest cloud formations.  The paintings are minimal in the number of shapes and forms - just enough to create luminous and sometimes transparent washes of color creating an ambiance that is atmospheric in nature. There is an ‘other worldly’ feeling about the works bringing the viewer along to float in the empty spaces within the canvases. A few of the ‘sky’ works are more literal in their color choices while the others are focused in the fuschia – purple – gray range suggesting skies and landscapes one might see at sunrise or sunset but with much greater intensity.  While the paintings are quite enchanting with subtle beauty, they are also disquieting. There is a certain loneliness and emptiness in the calm, quiet spaces of the landscapes alluding to De Luca’s reference to Rilke’s poetry suggesting a world that includes both beauty and despair.

Madison Gallery, La Jolla, CA
“Butterflies and Rebirth”: Paintings by Hunt Slonem
Review by Cathy Breslaw

At first glance, Hunt Slonem’s large exhibition of oil paintings appear as simply a collection of richly colored, decorative images on canvas.  However at closer examination, these works featuring birds, butterflies, flowers and human faces Slonem reveals a deeply intimate, sensitive familiarity and keen technical knowledge of subject matter.He creates his paintings in his New York studio that also serves as an aviary where he cares for rescued birds. Through pattern, repetition and color, each painting portrays a field of images of mostly birds or butterflies seemingly suspended in space, appearing and disappearing as they move in and out of view.  There is an underlying grid structure to most of Slonem’s works and a surprising subtle free-handed cross-hatched pattern scratched into the surface of each painting.The cross-hatching alludes to a cage or screen that may be restraining the birds or butterflies. Painted in an expressionistic style, these works have a sense of levity, light and space that is both spiritual and joyful.
Cathy Breslaw is a southern California visual artist, writer and lecturer who has had over 25 solo exhibitions, and 50 group exhibitions across the country at museums, art centers, college and university galleries and commercial galleries. Her work can be found in many private and corporate collections. Her work and writing can be seen at:

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