Talk about being late to the party. “From JayJay with Love” opened on Valentine’s Day with a champagne-and-chocolates reception that I missed, which is not like me.
Fortunately, the show, which features two artists new to the gallery, as well as a selection of works by gallery regulars, continues through Saturday, March 25.
The new-to-the-gallery artists, Rick Siggins and Mark Eanes, are a welcome addition to JayJay, and their works are very much worth checking out.
Siggins, who lived and worked in New York City’s Brooklyn borough for many years, does abstract paintings composed of multiple, mostly small, individually stretched canvases. These are then assembled into intricately woven paintings, some of them impressively large in scale. It’s a labor-intensive, slightly mad approach that one has to admire for the intricacy and difficulty of the process.
Never miss a local story.
The show begins with a monumental work made up of more than 100 earthy, amber-toned triangular canvases with dark stripes that add up to a swirling, kaleidoscopic field. It has a kind of loose op art effect as does a shaped painting nearby composed of 15 larger black-and-white canvases that create an undulating, three-dimensional effect.
Siggins’ palette shifts in the remainder of his works, which have a kind of Technicolor intensity. From a distance, the largest of these forms a rainbow of concentric circles, a soft-edged bull’s-eye. Up close, you see the tiny canvases, each filled with painterly markings that resemble petals. It’s as if you were immersed in a lush, fragrant garden.
Siggins’ cool, optically and conceptually complex work contrasts with the warmth of Eanes’ expressive, collagelike mixed media pieces. These hard-won abstractions, reminiscent of the searching spirit of Richard Diebenkorn, reflect memories of Eanes’ international travel, as well as his engagement with the traditions of abstract art in the Bay Area, where he lives.
The result of a long, intuitive process of building up and tearing away layers of painted, drawn and found images, his playful yet deeply felt works are evocative excavations of times past and places visited that form a kind of archeological visual diary.
“BJ” is dominated by a large J-shaped form speeding down the center of the composition, while a small block-letter B enters on the upper left. Reaching across the top of the composition is an image of Christ’s arm and hand with stigmata borrowed from a reproduction of what might be an old master’s painting.
The overall warm tone of the piece is broken in places by flashes of subtle yet vibrant color, a submerged image of a white-on-black figure, a fragment of a text and a lacy black-and-cream strip running down the right edge of the work.
In other compositions, images of classical columns and friezes pop up as do fragments of sheet music, calligraphy, lined writing paper, a piece of cardboard with a softly torn edge and the partially obscured face of a fashionable woman.
The group show of JayJay artists features red, pink and white works in the spirit of Valentine’s Day. Ranging from Mary Warner’s lush flower painting to Annell Livingston’s meticulous, geometric abstraction that vibrates with light as your eye moves across it, the show is a fine sampling of works by the gallery’s strong artists.
Among, the works that stand out in a corner of the gallery’s large, light-filled, flexible new space are a quirky wall sculpture by Robert Ortbal, new examples of Mark Emerson’s dazzling explorations of color relationships and a large, compelling visual narrative by John Yoyogi Fortes.