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“Crossing Boundaries”
Huntington Beach Art Center, Huntington Beach, California
Preview by Kathy Zimmerer

Hiromi Takizawa, "Ultraviolet," 2013, foliage, poly carbonated film, neon, 8 x 8 x 8'

Continuing through July 1, 2017

Celebrating the “Year of the Woman in the Arts,” “Crossing Boundaries" presents the work of six women artists who delve into diverse media, ranging from mixed media installations to fiber vessels. The artists include Sandy Abrams, Nicola Lamb, Connie DK Lane, Nancy Mooslin, Hiromi Takizawa and Carol Buck Vosburgh.

Abrams creates tightly woven fiber vessels in biomorphic forms that exploit the sculptural possibilities of the container. In “Asylum" the circular weave of a basket cradles a center where tiny birds find respite. In a sculpture titled “Ruddy" she also enhances a wood core with a woven shell. While mostly related to the vessel in format, Abrams’ quirky sculptures encompass a variety of other forms, from a horizontal riff on a broom in “Communion,” composed of bamboo, palm and felt, to the frozen motions of “Mathilda," which resembles a whisk broom with a handle.    

Long an abstract painter of note, Lamb makes veils of color shimmer and change with the light in her paintings of acrylic medium on Plexiglas. Iridescent shades of purple waver and splash across the surface in “Light," while brilliant orange splashes form strong patterns contrasting with a glowing yellow in "Waves of the Desert." In "Pipa Sandbar" shades of blue move in a rhythmic motion across the painting's surface.

Mixed media artist Lane reliably achieves an intriguing mixture of abstraction and representation in her assemblages. In the large-scale sculptures included here she evokes the cityscape of Hong Kong with multiple panels of deep color and striking texture that mimic that city’s skyscrapers. “Vertical" not only has the structure but panels of color strung out into the gallery space, reflecting Hong Kong's vivid and crowded cityscape. As we look up at the structure a photograph of the skyscrapers tops the piece. Most effective is “Jammed,” in which the artist has stuffed pillows into a wooden vertical structure placed on top of another layered structure.

Groves of brilliantly colored trees are luminously represented in Mooslin's large-scale graphite and watercolor landscapes. They evoke her inspiration, Olivier Messiaen’s musical composition for the piano, "Catalogue d’Oiseaux." Brilliant colors pop from these trees, including tangerine, royal blue and a glowing yellow. She also includes stunning close-up, photorealistic depictions of water, the surfaces rippling with all its inherent reflections in her pigment prints with pastel.

Light installations by Takizawa formally emphasize color, lines and of course light, as exemplified in her environmental piece, "Ultraviolet."  Also interesting are her mixed media works that emulate lichen, as delicate spots of color overlap and merge into one, almost as though they were being viewed under a microscope. 

Spiky mixed media sculptures by Vosburgh could belong to a coral reef or an ancient forest. In “Radiator," a central nest of multi-colored wires could be a sea urchin surrounded by the striated formations of coral. “Ancestral" links a white tree with boxes, its branches growing from the wall, adding dimensionality to the flat painted surface of a dense and brightly colored ground.

Each artist approaches their work from a uniquely feminine perspective, from the woven fiber vessels of Abrams to Lane's stuffed pillow assemblages. They combine the personal with the universal to achieve a series of visual journeys that take us from symbols of towering Asian skyscrapers to the incandescent and transient beauty of the forests of France.

Huntington Beach Art Center

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