Christine Rasmussen: Liminal Transcendence at George Billis Gallery

Christine Rasmussen, Azure and Salmon, 2020, oil on canvas, 48 x 60 inches, Liminal Transcendence, George Billis Gallery, Photo Courtesy of the Gallery

Christine Rasmussen: Limininal Transcendence

George Billis Gallery, Los Angeles
Through December 31, 2022

Written by Kristine Schomaker
Christine Rasmussen’s solo exhibition Liminal Transcendence at George Billis Gallery in Los Angeles brings the outside in and asks us to see the world from a different, odd perspective, from your car in a parking lot. What do we see when we look up, rather than down at our phones? 

Her oil paintings at first seem like straightforward architectural renderings. But something is off. We don’t get the whole view. We get glimpses of the exterior of buildings. Glimpses of the tops of buildings.

Azure and Salmon the largest painting in the show at 48×60 inches includes a historic Los Angeles building, recharged from its traditional square concrete and glass facade with additions of steel and metal jutting out to create an imagined Greek pediment. In the background, the rich azure sky and low fluffy clouds are a reminder of nature’s power over these human-built structures. The greatest joy in this painting, as alluded to in the title, is how the colors play with and react to each other. The salmon colored building set against the azure sky invites the viewer in in the same way as Josef Albers or Hans Hofmann. 

The push and pull and play of the colors is also evident in Magenta Interlude. Here a Magenta colored metal corrugated fence abuts another brilliantly blue sky. The repetitive stripes of the fence and wires, along with the vibrating colors bring to mind Wassily Kandinsky’s “Concerning the Spiritual in Art.” Christine is evoking a spiritual resonance within the work and beyond between the artwork and viewer. 

The real becomes imagined. Truth turns to fiction. Stories are remade. Patterns come together with design to distort our perspective of whether it is a building or an abstract painting or both. In View from the Parking Lot, what appears to be a well-known parking lot in the Arts District, becomes less about the architecture and more about line, form, shape, composition, and color. We are being led to an apex where the city skyline is barely visible. Swaths of color and absence give recognition to the spiritual paintings of Mark Rothko. The geometric abstractions of the urban architecture, surrounding shadows and large spaces of sky evoke Richard Diebenkorn.  

There are small paintings that have large personalities and larger paintings you need to get up close to view the small intricacies. The paintings are beautifully rendered with fine details.

In these paintings, we are getting a view of where the sky meets the earth. The horizon is filled with concrete, metal, glass, shadow and urban stories. The sky in her works is filled with clouds (and chemtrails) Angelenos will easily recognize.  Christine is asking us to take notice of that in between space where the magic happens.

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