Saturday, April 25, 2009

@SPACE Gallery's Current Show: Jane Bauman - APOPHENIA

It was perfect timing as I left the VSA opening at MainPlace and realized I was only a block away from @SPACE Gallery, so I dropped in for a peek and not only was its director Julie Perlin Lee there (with her new baby) but so was artist Jane Bauman, whose solo exhibit, "Apophenia," adorned the walls.

I'm really a fan of abstract art, and while not solely devoted to it, @SPACE Gallery seems to have a penchant for selecting some very buoyant non-representational works for display. Jane's was yet another example of this.
She shared with me the fact she was first moved some time ago by the "rorschach ink blot" works of the late Bruce Conner, which were in black and white. Jane told me "anyone who knows me, knows I like a lot of color," and so the works she created that appear in this exhibit are indeed quite colorful and unashamedly influenced by rorschach blots.
But if the idea of using the blot as a motif was quite a conscious decision, its ultimate proliferation as free standing enamel on vellum paintings was not. Jane actually enjoys painting on sheets of aluminum, and in one of her latest series of such works, she created the ink blots and then pressed them onto the aluminum plates which she then finished with hand painted images.
That produced her "aha" moment, when she realized the enamel on vellum blots possessed their own independent beauty, worthy of exploration.
Beauty is important to Jane, who is also a longtime professor of art at Coastline College, and while her work is abstract, she talked about how her Jesuit education instilled in her intellectual underpinnings to her artistic concepts. "Apophenia," she explained, is the term for "finding meaning in random data." I commented that the randomness of rorschach blots also embodies formal structure because of the mirror image from folding & blotting.
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty. That is all ye know on Earth, and all ye need to know."
--John Keats ("Ode on a Grecian Urn")

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