Trip the Light Fantastic:
Marion Lane and Rochelle Botello
By Lorraine Heitzman
Now through June 24, Groundspace Project is hosting a lively dialogue between painter, Marion Lane, and sculptor, Rochelle Botello. Each artist further explores territory they have traversed before as they continue their ongoing conversation. Lane and Botello have shown together in the past but this exhibit demonstrates a maturation of their work and succeeds in contrasting two different but compatible sensibilities.
Marion Lane’s currency is paint; drippy, oozing, flowing acrylic colors. Poured and manipulated onto flat surfaces in a method akin to wet-on-wet marbleizing techniques, the complex paint patterns are dried and then later seamlessly collaged onto wood panels. Lane’s paintings are fresh and wonderfully curious but ultimately her unusual process is less important than what she achieves. Using wood and imitation wood Contact paper as a background, her compositions are expansive and organic, flat and abstract. The shapes suggest forms but stop short of any narrative. Her seven paintings in Trip the Light Fantastic are both tactile and cerebral, concerned with surfaces and the push and pull of color and form. The faux wood patterns behind her composite shapes are less kitsch than they are about isolating images with a found texture that mimics the ones she painstakingly creates herself.
Lane creates interest and tension in her paintings through her punchy and pastel color palette and her ability to allude to dimension and flatness at the same time. These contradictions give heft to her work, adding a complexity to paintings that in less capable hands might otherwise be merely eye candy. Instead they are endlessly fascinating, drawing us into a world of color, not quite understood, but very real.
Rochelle Botello’s quirky floor and wall sculptures are colorful line drawings made three-dimensional. In comparison to Lane’s paintings they are less refined but what she forfeits with their somewhat crude construction she gains in tangible forms that strongly imply movement. Exhibiting a tension between limbs and masses, Botello constructs her sculptures from colored duct tape, cardboard, branches, paper and wood. She alternates from masses to jagged arteries that originate from the larger forms and reiterate their marks as if energetic outgrowths of an unknown circulatory system.
Although the geometric marks on the broader surfaces may seem arbitrary, sometimes diluting the contrast between flat areas of color and the branches, Botello looks to be searching for a way to make connections between the two and heighten the interest of the surface. But the forms tell the whole story. This was apparent at the opening when Botello engaged choreographer/dancer Shelby Williams-Gonzalez to perform with her work. Williams-Gonzalez, who has an extensive background with Afro-Brazilian dance, removed Switch Me on, Turn Me Up off the wall once recorded music began playing. Part shamanistic ritual, part dream sequence, the dancer activated the sculpture in ways that were unimaginable just moments before when the art was static, a testament to her choreography and the inherent possibilities in Botello’s work. At times the sculpture became a mask and then transformed into a vessel. The lightness of the sculpture enabled Williams-Gonzalez a lot of latitude and in turn she gave new life to her prop.
The relationship between Botello’s and Lane’s work is more in a complementary vein rather than a traditional collaboration but either way these two simpatico artists are upping their game and the result is worth a trip to Groundspace Project by June 24th.
1427 E. 4th St. #4 Los Angeles, CA 90033