Exciting, bold, adventurous and energetic color; rich, luscious, raw and sensuous texture; lucid, mannered and eclectic form; intricate exhaustive, varied and diminutive pattern — surely a cornucopia of formal painterly elements such as this is the result, at the nine o’clock hour, of an extensively attended Gallery Stroll. Or, might the product of a gallery stroll consisting of one singular visit to one gallery to view the works of one solo artist possibly contain such a profuse wealth of imagery to satisfy this copious range of formal elements? It most certainly can if the destination is the Dibble Gallery, in the lower level of Salt Lake’s Phillips Gallery, to view the most current work of artist Josanne Glass.
You’ll find that cornucopia in “Even,” a square panel using two horizontal half-panel planes of hue and a thin band between that connects and separates. The color is striking as on a color wheel these would be close together; no strict adherence to contrasting or complimentary, primary or secondary relationships here. The top half is pumpkin orange; the bottom is a darker and deeper pomegranate red. The middle line is azure blue. The paint seems to be scraped onto the canvas as the texture reveals cursory strokes resplendent with gradations in tonality while the blue is inconsistent and clotted. The result? Totally uninhibited art making.
A varying position on the subject spectrum is “Red Dog.” This stylized representation of dog-like form is as close to literal as Glass gets. In a manner reminiscent of Keith Haring, this amiable form is a simple yet ideal outline in black holding a brilliant raspberry-red filling. Paint has been scraped away to give texture and visual play to the simple form. Banana yellow paint coarsely applied background mixes a minutia of ribbon pattern tightly etched line revealing a distinctive painterly canvas rhythm. The canvases in the gallery are diversified in subject yet homogenized by an aggressive approach to form from an artist whose painterly ferocity tackles each intensely evocative subject as if it were to be the last painting she makes.
“Whether representational, figurative, or abstract, the constants in all of my work are a strong sense of color, texture, and personal connection,” says Glass in her artist statement. Looking at this work, that personal connection must come from an artist who is charismatic, energetic, and passionate. Add to this persona a fascination for materials, for substance, for the tactility of art, and together one finds an utterly unique and vigorously vibrant artist in Josanne Glass.
Josanne Glass’s acrylic paintings are on exhibit at Salt Lake’s Phillips Gallery (444 East 200 South) April 19 – May 10. An artist’s reception will be held Friday, April, 19, 6-9 pm as part of the Salt Lake Gallery Stroll. Showing concurrently in the upstairs gallery are works by Tom Howard and Kathleen Peterson.
Ehren Clark studied art history at both the University of Utah and the University of Reading in the UK. He is now a professional writer living in Salt Lake City.