The Automatic Message [09.20.2014-11.01.2014]


Featuring the artwork of David Aschenbrener, George Farrah, Catherine L. Johnson, Daniel Kaniess, Stefanie Motta, Larry Roberts, Welsa Stone, and Jim Williams. 

"There is no such thing as a good painting about nothing."  -Gottlieb and Rothko, 1943

Abstraction is a territory heavily explored, but as an expression of individual psyches, the territory is never-ending. The unrelenting appeal of abstraction is also due to the archetypes found there, as the private world of the mind always slips toward the universal. This combination of unique expression and primordial patterns attract our attention, informs our humanness.

The title, The Automatic Message is taken from Andre Breton, poet and spokesperson of the surrealist movement in the early 20th century. He used, ‘The Automatic Message’ to describe a free-association form of writing done without any premeditation and undirected by conscious thought in order to express the subconscious mind. It would be another 25 years before abstract painting came into its own, but when it did, it took the art world by storm. Since that time, visual art has moved through other forms of abstraction –as text or pure concept. This exhibit follows the original idea, the automatic message in the visual domain.    

The Artists:

Catherine L. Johnson’s paintings seem simple at first glance. Her creations are spontaneous, and automatic, but her techniques belie a keen understanding of how perception works. So, her content plumbs the mind to find hope, archetypal patterns, memory; while her techniques leave us feeling real movement, fluttering light, and color fields –scattered with the minds’ buried treasure. More information

The late Daniel Kaniess has left us scribbles and gestural marks made, covered, and made again. Substrates vary, but often are previously printed, used materials (like record covers or bill-board posters). We are left to wonder at the power of the mark or scribble ‘made by human’ –a title that Dan used often.  

Larry Roberts:  “Most of my images start from nothing other than raw emotion and gravity.” Roberts steadily experiments with materials, producing extraordinary visual effects which he then teases out the feelings in each piece.

Stefanie Motta uses experimental photographic processes to record light in unusual spaces.  Her photos feel like vast, psychic landscapes.

Welsa Stone uses meditation and repetition to keep her hands busy and her mind free of conscious thought. She creates chaotic networks, that cannot be erased, but record time and the wanderings of subconscious thought.

George Farrah is an abstract expressionist. He works directly, painting out his abstracted visions, feelings and transmissions.  For the most part he works without special effects, simply letting the paint speak via the contrasts of color, density and texture only. 

David Aschenbrener, for this exhibit, has left abstract fragments of his organic sculptures as traces of his more formal, art-making mind. 

Jim Williams is an engineer gone artist. His sculptures arrive from his inner experiences, subconscious ramblings. 

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