A Celebration of All Things Cultural, Artistic, and Entertaining in Madison
Sep 20, 2011
Sense of Place
In a statement for his latest exhibition, Vermilion Sands +, Derrick Buisch writes, “I am interested in painting impossible places. My hope is to evoke spaces that are familiar but exist right on the edge of tangibility.”
The paintings in the show, one of two side-by-side solo exhibitions on display through October 9 at the James Watrous Gallery, are vibrant and graphic, melding icons and symbols with a vague sense of place in what the Madison artist describes as “a collision of visual information.”
One large painting features three broad horizontal bands. The top has a gold and black pattern reminiscent of sand dunes, while the middle section looks like an enlarged version of the above pattern, carried out in red, orange and black, and the bottom reveals a pink landscape. Throughout the work, words and symbols are painted on top.
Similar symbols—megaphones, a skull, a wave and other hybrid forms—are showcased individually in an array of colorful square paintings. Each work is colorful and graphic on its own but when displayed in a grid form, the effect is particularly impactful.
On a far wall of the exhibition space, a large painting looks like a blown up page of a notebook, with blue lines on a pale yellow backdrop. On it in blue writing is a long list of terms—horizon line, rooftops, fire escapes, trees, stucco, tape, license plates, blue sky, random noise, static, silence, roots and more. Above and below on the page, words seem to have been whited out, raising the question of what made the writer keep these terms, and what purpose they hold.
But perhaps more interestingly, the words offer a different kind of visual representation—typographic as opposed to iconic—of the concepts, items and fragments that pop up regularly throughout Buisch’s abstracted work.
The second exhibition at the gallery is Tom Hollenback’s The Red Channel Network. While he now lives in Menomonie, Wisconsin, the artist spent much of his adult life in the American southwest, where he became “interested in the directed movement of water, the structures and mechanisms that make it possible, and the ramifications of that movement.”
His exhibition features a striking installation. Three vertical boxes fronted in clear red glass hang on gallery walls. From each box, six or seven silver hoses emerge, fall and spread snakelike across the floor. The hoses seem to move—seemingly up to the viewer’s feet—menacingly and powerfully. They serve as a strong metaphor for humankind’s manipulation of nature and quest to control its resources.
Vermilion Sands + and The Red Channel Network run through October 9 at the James Watrous Gallery. For more information, visit wisconsinacademy.org.
Photo courtesy of the James Watrous Gallery.