“My favorite metaphor for abstract painting,” reveals artist Linda Gritta, “is that it’s like jumping off a cliff and fashioning a net on the way down in which to catch yourself. You must use everything you know — all the techniques and ‘rules’ you learned in art school — as you free fall. But you must also be completely responsive to the unexpected elements that you encounter on the way down, and be willing to bend some of the rules.”
New works by Gritta and another local abstractionist rule bender, Moni Hill, will be showcased in April during the Place and Presence exhibit at Asheville’s Bender Gallery.
Hill says her current series of paintings started off being about the Japanese term komorebi, which refers to how light shines through the leaves of a tree. “I was literally, in my abstract way, painting patches of illuminated leaves.” Then she realized that she could also interpret komorebi to mean how light shines through her, in her creative process. “Perhaps I am the leaf on the tree — and these paintings are light shining through me.”
Hill’s komorebi paintings represents the paradoxical and dualistic nature of life and how she uses art to create meaning and find joy during challenging times. Gritta observes that part of the challenge these days is to find some peace and calm amid the “relentless noise of social media.”
As she explains, “Unseen players offer up a nonstop barrage of words and virtual images from shiny devices of all shapes and sizes, each competing desperately for our attention and presence. Ironically, it’s because of these forces that we are losing our ability to truly be present, to pay attention, and to slow down.
“More than ever before, in these times of dizzying change and chatter, we long for and need a place of quiet and repose.”
Place and Presence promises to provide such a sanctuary, as it celebrates springtime with beautiful, imaginative works by these two important local painters.
April 2-30 (Opening Reception with the artists: April 2, 6-9pm).
Bender Gallery, 29 Biltmore Ave., Asheville. www.bendergallery.com. 828-505-8341.