RUTH BERCAW

For the next eleven weeks, we will be highlighting each of the artists in our new show, Engaging Women, which will be on view from March 8 – April 27.

From the first, it was a gamble.  To go from creating the illusion of three dimensions on flat surfaces (as was an important artistic goal in past centuries, and continues) to painting on actual three dimensional forms might have been looked upon as a distraction from serious art.  So it was that some years ago, when I built my first forms, I worried that profound aspects of my new work might be missed.  Fortunately, I was mistaken. – Not only accepted, my works such as these on exhibition are collected.

It was the magic of natural light coming through the window of our back room, washing over those crude initial forms, which clinched my decision to risk change.  Planes of the structures directly struck by sunlight stood out, their turning edges crisply outlined by shadows, while contrasting grays and mysterious darks were pocketed about as surfaces changed direction and received less illumination. Those faceted forms, their surfaces of white canvas inviting action, proved to be perfect vehicles for expression of different ideas.

Consider that ordinary, run-of-the-mill light flowing over my three-dimensional paintings produces gently modulated tones and shadows, modifying both color and shape; while under strong, directed light, those same shadowed areas change into more dramatic shapes with higher contrast. Multiple light sources may further extend a work by projecting interesting overlapping patterns of shadow onto contiguous wall areas.  And, if the piece is hung near a window or other natural light source, emotional response to a given painting will change in incremental stages as intensity of light increases and then decreases as day progresses toward night. 

Another curious emotive response hovers around these slab-sided geometric forms:  no matter their scale and whether of boxy or triangular shapes, the discreet forms convey a psychological sense of completeness.  Depending upon their orientation in hanging, single units may have an air of either stability, or the direct opposite: a sense of kinetic energy.     

And finally there is color, which stokes my very being.  When forms are painted with rich admixtures of traditional oil paint, the hugely important addition of color to the mix of visual elements psychologically affects all aspects of perception of the work. Undistracted by narrative, color plays especially crucial roles in compositions comprised of multiple units: one role is that if applied knowingly, colors tie compositions together through syncopated distributions, skipping over some planes or voids, addressing selected others, thereby linking shapes of associated hues. To me, color is a marker of life and even subtle works are more viable when color is integral to the concept. 

These particular Bonfoey paintings are non-representational pieces of Art, complete in and of themselves.   They do say something about relationships; but then again, the Art may simply be enjoyed.

See Ruth Bercaw’s work in our current show, Engaging Women at The Bonfoey Galley, 1710 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44115. For more information, visit our website. For questions, call (216) 621-0178 or send us an email.

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