September 20, 2012
Katherine Ace and Matthew Dennison exhibits are among those profiled by Oregon Arts Watch

Punch Counterpunch: Art & Argument in the Galleries

Bob Hicks writes of Matthew Dennison in Oregon Arts Watch:

"Sometimes the border-crossings in this new exhibit of paintings, fittingly called 'A Current History of Encroachment,' are obvious, and sometimes they’re more subtle. The works are oils on panel or canvas, high-gloss and quasi-realistic, with a touch of fun-house perversity: simplified forms with disturbing undertones, like psychologically fractured visions of Little Golden Books covers from the 1950s and ’60s: even the children have curiously worn countenances. Something laconic, passive, acted-upon molds the faces of many of his characters, as if something unsettlingly magical is occurring: as the world swirls around them, these beings seem to be passing through their lives more than living. The paintings’ surface sheen, which both clouds and heightens the effect of the little dramas, is startling, and doesn’t come across in reproduction: to appreciate it fully, you have to see it in the flesh."

Of Katherine Ace:

"Vases, flowers, fruit, newspapers, handwritten letters: it’s the stuff of traditional still life, but with a contemporary thrust. Meticulously shaped and brightly colored but without visible anchor, her clusters of objects seem to float inside the space of their canvases. Even in the paintings that include printed language, the meanings are open-ended. 'Ah Love!' say the words on a crumpled paper in a painting titled “Nesting.” The paper sits beside a clear-glass bowl and goblets and a narrow vase with a white flower exploding little particles of red. The image is both familiar and unfamiliar. Whatever it 'means,' it’s arresting."

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