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Review by Stuart Greenwell
For years artist Joanne Kent's work has been centered around her examination of the boundaries between painting and sculpture. In her recent exhibition at Washington, DC's Parish gallery she continues her inquest; however, she has added some bold new dimensions to her work. Kent has introduced bright, explosive color and an even thicker application of paint than she usually utilizeswhich is considerable.
Kent, who has in the past worked primarily with black, earth tones and stark white, seemingly has challenged herself to break free from the restrictions of this palette. In these new works she has chosen a palette that begins with primary and secondary colors then diverges from that path by introducing sumptuous pistachios and hot pinks into the scheme.
In the past, her large, box-like forms protruded roughly four to six inches from the wall and featured sensuous, rough, waxy surfaces that beckon to touch. Now Kent one-ups them by adding even more paint that makes each piece reminiscent of a fluorescent oak tree. The abundance of oil paint permeates the room adding to the experience.
For Kent, the box-like forms are intended to work in harmony with the square architectural spaces that we call home. The serial motif employed in this series takes on a Doric sensibility when displayed one next to the other as they were in this show further exemplifying their architectonic qualities.
Ironically, if there was a negative to this show, it was the manner in which they were displayed. There were far too many works in this show and they had a tendency to fight one another for attention. Also, the symmetry between the works was skewed due to some poor placement. In strictly mathematical terms there could have been an equivalence achieved based soley on the number of pieces of similar dimension. Though "equivalence" may not have been the intention here, the aesthetic quality of the show as a whole seemed to call for it. This is an important point for any exhibiting artist to consider.
It will be interesting to see where Kent goes from here as she explores the possibilities of surface, presentation, and place.