Beautiful and Evocative Abstract Works at South Bay Contemporary SoLA

Pamela Smith Hudson and Kristan Marvell, Tender Ground, South Bay Contemporary SoLA; Photo credit Genie Davis
Pamela Smith Hudson and Kristan Marvell, Tender Ground, South Bay Contemporary SoLA; Photo credit Genie Davis

Beautiful and Evocative Abstract Works

through March 31
South Bay Contemporary SoLA, Windsor Hills

By Genie Davis
At South Bay Contemporary SoLA through March 31st, two fine abstract exhibitions are exceedingly well-paired and curated by Nicholette Kominos.

Paintings and sculptural work flow through the gallery with “Nest of Sadness” by Eva Malhotra in the Project Space, and “Tender Ground”, works by Pamela Smith-Hudson and Kristan Marvell in the Main Gallery.

With “Tender Ground”, Pamela Smith Hudson’s paintings and Kristan Marvell’s sculptures and sculptural wall works play off one another, images of abstract landscapes, some swirling and flowing, some abrupt and sharp. Fierce and absorbing, the rough textures, nooks, and crannies of Marvel’s cast bronze works are visceral and passionate. They seem to erupt, spring fully formed from earth. They’re molten, they remind the viewer of petrified wood, the ruins of buildings from lost civilizations, forests from another planet. Both geometric and geological, they touch on nature, on hidden worlds, on fossilized forms and the shards of beauty that arise from upheaval, perhaps cast in flame. Here are the boulders strewn by earthquakes, sliced and reshaped by weather and time, arising from the depths of the earth. His smaller works in his “Artifact” series seem like outgrowths from his larger mixed media “Paleontology” series pieces; both are all angles and points, both linear and dream-like, as if the works of man were co-opted by nature.

Eva Malhotra, Nest of Sadness, South Bay Contemporary SoLA; Photo credit Genie Davis
Eva Malhotra, Nest of Sadness, South Bay Contemporary SoLA; Photo credit Genie Davis

If Marvell’s work can be viewed as shapes thrust up from the very magma of the earth’s core, then Smith-Hudson’s work is more of a look within those layers of land and space and time that are otherwise unseen and forever hidden. Using rich, deep encaustic layers, printmaking, and collage, Pamela Smith-Hudson’s abstract paintings are dense and fecund. The blue of earth from space and the depths of the sea seem to merge, riven with light in her Untitled, Blue Circle, while with Sensory VI, Smith-Hudson pulls the viewer into a beautifully composed, yet watery and ethereal environment. Her tactile, delicately layered work evokes her past in graphic arts, and there is an inherent sense of color and motion here, as if light was dancing across her mixed media canvases.

Both artists offer works that are stunningly immersive, allowing viewers to see real physical and emotional depth in these abstract works.

With Eva Malhotra’s engraved acrylic on wood works in “Nest of Sadness”, there is a different sense of immersion that viewers will experience. So beautiful and bursting with color, the works shimmer like jewels, with untitled images that seem to represent star-filled galaxies, the teaming life in a drop of ocean water, the undulating feathers of a peacock. So rich, fully colored, and alive are Malhotra’s works that they defy an easy context. In some ways, they remind the viewer of perfect, minute mosaic work, in others of the finest feathers or seeds. The texture and bright color are both magical and riveting; the artist’s use of wood carving tools in lieu of paint brushes shapes layered compositions that invite one to study their meaning. The works create the sense of burgeoning change, of possibility, of rebirth and redefinition.

All three artists have shaped worlds within worlds, a look at the depths of emotions and planets not yet fully realized.

South Bay Contemporary SoLA
3718 W Slauson Ave, Windsor Hills, CA

One comment

  1. Thank you, Genie Davis, for your nuanced and thoughtful review regarding the work of these three wonderful artists!

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