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Art New England

Beyond the Categories: A Paint/Print Dialogue

Published February 4, 2006 by Meredith Fife Day

When curator Ilana Manolson talks about this show, she refers as often to the "dance" between painting and printmaking as she does to the dialogue. The distinction between the two, and the inclusion of both, gives unity as well as enormous range to the work of the six artists exhibited. Manolson's own work as both a painter and printmaker gives a pronounced sensitivity to the excitement of process, this exhibit's ascendant theme.

Catherine Kernan and Michael Mazur cross boundaries between painting and printmaking by combining the two. Kernan, in adjoining 12-inch square boards has divided and painted over a large print. In the resulting irregularly edged grid, she brings attention to the unrestrained growth of her images of leaves, stems, and branches. Mazur, whose extraordinary calligraphic vocabulary and color sense naturally expand existing language and methods, turns in his new work to stencil, collage, and airbrush. He seems to rule nothing out and experiments with open-ended inventiveness that bridges his early work with the present.

Peik Larson and Joel Janowitz move between the print and the painting with offhand poise, as if they are performing a masterfully scripted monologue. Larson's 47-inch-by-72-inch oil on board Palmeria has the crisp sparkle of his monoprint, and Janowitz, in Greenhouse Shadows: Hanging Plants, imbues his monotype with painterly richness. Heddi Siebel and Peggy Badenhausen give each medium more control over expression. Siebel paints on-site with fresh, quick handling of oil and exactitude of light. Her prints, also of the landscape, are dark and turbulently expressive. Badenhausen, working from dance and music notations, brings an intellectual order to her prints that is subsumed in her large and arresting oil painting, In the Distance, by a physicality as fundamental and life-giving as breathing.