Traveling into the Light with Gay Summer Rick
through November 11th
Artist talk moderated by Shana Nys Dambrot: Sunday, November 4th, 3-5pm
Second reception:Saturday, November 10th, 5-8pm
By Genie Davis
Gay Summer Rick’s Skyways and Highways at BG Gallery, now through November 11th, takes viewers on a stunning, glowing tour of roads and skies, driving, flying, and intuitively conveying us through a world that dances with light. Working in a palette that focuses on golds, oranges, blues, and pinks, Rick shapes soft, evocative images that are steeped in the scent of the sea and the glittering, amorphous images of a city night. Each of the works here has a luminous quality, a soft hazy focus that drapes even the most prosaic moment –driving in traffic on the freeway – in a dream-like beauty. She says that with her work she “tries to capture just a moment, a single moment that’s beautiful,” one that can transport viewers to a “calm and quiet space.”
Rick has succeeded with this exhibition, which features both urban and coastal landscapes, some of which are inspired from the view from an airplane seat, and others from a look at the lights from fishing boats bobbing at sea. There is a transcendent quality to her work which exudes both light and the colors of twilight, sunset, and sunrise. Working in oil paints with palette knives, the careful, months-long process of her painting helps her to tell a visual story, she relates.
Long drawn to images of and inspiration from the sea, in these works she is also clearly inspired by the vast scope of the horizon and the sky itself. There is a limitless feeling to the images. Some are from above looking at the vastness of the world below, as with “Compass LAX,” “Compass La Guardia,” and “Compass JFK.” These coming-in-for-a-landing views give the sensation of the vastness of these cities, of that frozen, glittering moment before an aircraft lands and we are thrust into the fray. Or as Rick puts it, “I wanted to capture that feeling of calm before you are on the ground and heading into all the noise of the city.”
There is a blissful silence in her work, which presses the “pause button” on the tumult of daily life.
“Squid Boats After Sunset” reveals the lights of distant boats and shimmering stars. It’s a long view, softly out of focus, as seen from across a vast expanse of blue sea, a ribbon of road, and the shore. With the last lingering streaks of juicy orange sunset painting the sky, one feels suspended, floating with those boats, drawn moth-like to the orbs of their lights. “Stand By” gives us raspberrry and rose as a palette, while a plane in the foreground waits to take off and the city skyline hovers dreamily in the distance. “To the One” captures the rush of traffic headed to the sea – via Highway 1 that is – and beyond the freeway and the cars is that incandescent light that can only be found above an ocean, that reflective glow, the alluring sunset of the west – itself “the one” to spiritually merge with. But with “Window Seat to JFK” we see a different kind of light, urban and alive and abuzz. It is a quieter, lavender fog of a seemingly pre-dawn sky that surrounds the approach to “Compass Gatwick,” and a just-past-first-light soft glow to “Compass LaGuardia.”
Wherever Rick’s compass points, it seems the landscape is infused with a magical, hold-your-breath quality, a radiance that levitates through the work and into the eyes and heart of the viewer.