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Anna Bogatin Ott
Holly Johnson Gallery, Dallas, Texas
Recommendation by John Zotos


Anna Bogatin Ott, "SWIceland," 2020, acrylic on canvas, 72 x 108"

 

This exhibition of Anna Bogatin Ott’s recent paintings is luscious. Her abstract pieces build a surface through repetitive markings in strong colors that culminate in an image that engages with light, bound within a tantric rhythm. At first glance her work will bring to mind artists belonging to the pantheon of abstract painters, such as Agnes Martin, for whom abstraction helps them explore spiritual realms and concepts. A longstanding interest in Buddhism has guided Ott throughout her career, but here the title of the exhibition, drawn from a philosophical tract by the Roman philosopher Lucretius titled “On the Nature of Things,” steers the conversation firmly within the Western world and ancient reflections on metaphysics, spirit and ultimately eschatology.   

 

It’s hard to pick favorites among this strong body of works. In “BV19,” a yellow powerhouse, Ott uses vertical rows of yellow markings that proceed horizontally up the surface of the canvas. It’s bisected by a horizontal line dead center that also acts as the focus of light in the composition. At 24 by 24 inches the painting is a small but formidable gem. Probably the most striking piece is “SWIceland,” which takes up its own wall with 72 by 108 inches of blue markings. In this case the lines of paint are laid down vertically in rows that traverse the surface from left to right. A bright vertical bisection acts as a stopping place where the rows from the right and left collide. The surface glows, perhaps imbued with ideas Lucretius describes about a soul composed of tiny atoms, which her markings attest to and amplify in this visually stunning body of work.


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