Peter Brooke & Peri Schwartz: Works on Paper
Julia von Metzsch Ramos: Surrounding Kettle Island
Jan 3 – 25 at Gallery NAGA
To ring in the New Year, Gallery NAGA will present symbolic, sea-inspired paintings by Julia von Metzsch Ramos and abstracted works on paper by Peter Brooke and Peri Schwartz.
Peter Brooke & Peri Schwartz: Works on Paper and Julia von Metzsch Ramos: Surrounding Kettle Island both run from January 3 to 25. A reception for the artists and public will be held on Friday, January 3 from 6 to 8 pm.
Peter Brooke and Peri Schwartz are widely known for their large-scale paintings on canvas and wood panel. But for most of Brooke’s and Schwartz’s painting careers, they have made a quiet habit of working on paper.
Brooke’s paintings are fabrications solidly based on memories of his surroundings. Neither specific as to place or time, all the paintings share a metaphysical quality. His new body of work reduces his landscapes to forms co-existing in space.
Brooke, as always, manages to draw viewers into a world of imaginary scenery capturing not only the physical beauty but also the evanescence of feeling. The absence of any figures or human life allows viewers to become solitary characters in each new environment, allowing them to meditate on the tension between nature and the intangible emotion of impermanence it inspires.
Peri Schwartz uses as her subject matter her studio, where she creates stage sets using bottles, jars, and the architecture of the space. Her prints and watercolors are a reduction of forms in space. Liquid-filled glass jars hover above the suggestion of a tabletop while receding blocks of color serve as a backdrop or curtain. Each form is contained within a strict boundary, the geometry of the space becoming ever more clear. The best example of this is a monotype collage, Studio #20C that creates divisions using actual cut edges abutted atop another sheet of paper. As a result of the materials, Schwartz’s works on paper have an immediacy and delicacy that is harder to capture in her layered oil paintings.
In her third solo exhibition at Gallery NAGA, Julia von Metzsch Ramos offers a body of work that is vigorous and distinctive. The new paintings are primarily seascapes done on site from Massachusetts’ north shore. Islands, trees, and rocks all come in and out of view, but what is most mysterious is the atmosphere and movement Ramos is able to capture. Ramos uses transparent layers of paint to achieve depth and illusion, creating a tension particularly well suited to the ever-changing New England weather. The dividing line between sea and sky practically disappears in paintings such as Magnolia Morning Sky and Late Summer Fog. Fantastical and prism-like clouds become one with the motion of the waves. Patterns one normally sees in the wind-driven waves are reflected in Ramos’ blustery skies.
Ramos’ excitement about the work comes from growing up nearby and seeing the ever-changing landscape on a daily basis. In her statement for the exhibition, Ramos reflects on her experience.
I have been painting observed oceanscapes and plein air studies. The more change there is the better. The only rule I have for myself is to start painting an event in nature before it occurs. I pay attention to conditions so I don’t miss the next chance to paint a specific scene. I notice the barometric pressure. I follow several weather, tide and wind applications. My experience living in Boston for most of my life and always dancing around landscape painting in my work have lead me to know when to wake at 5 am for that certain cloud or particular ocean glitter reflection. These are spring and fall paintings. I love to observe change, life, growth and decay around the equinox. Sometimes a painting is a collage of several different landscapes in one because that is the direction things took, but, for the most part, if a painting must be done in several sessions I try to make it within one cycle of the moon or I save it for the next year, same place same tide.