A rush of visitors filed into G Gallery Saturday afternoon for the opening of "Variations in Color," a seven-artist show that gallery director Diane Barber calls "an exhibit of abstraction," and for good reason: Splayed all over G Gallery's white walls are seven different interpretations of color. How many colors are in the rainbow? There could be millions; there could be seven. There could be one: the white light that filters through a prism to create the exhibit's namesake. Filtering Barber's description into laymen's terms, "Variations" is a new exhibition that celebrates color.
For Richard Mogas, a San Antonio artist, celebration means tape.
"I've been working with tape for the last 20 years," Mogas said. "It's become my palette of choice."
While Mogas still works with paint, tape allows him to create precision without having to succumb to the rigorous process of painting straight lines -- a process he calls "exactitude." His Summer Landscape painting displays this, with ulticolored pieces of ready-made tape lie horizontally and precise in a manner that paint could never achieve.
Not only does using tape make it easier for Mogas to create his horizontal lines, it allows him to repurpose a common object, creating a permanent work of art from something that is originally meant to be used, and once used up, thrown away. His tape is also a fun trick of the eye: until you get close, you aren't aware of what medium he is using.
Of the seven artists on display, three are from Houston, two hail from San Antonio and two come from Austin and Wimberley.
Wimberley is a city that resident Chrys Grummert describes as "bluebonnet landscapes, landscapes, landscapes." Moving from Los Angeles to the "little town," he experienced initial disgust at the endless scene of mountains and trees.
"I went, 'huh, okay,'" he said. "I don't like it."
However, Grummert's habit is to "transform something I don't like into something I do like," and the abstraction artist started painting landscapes -- this time, with his own colorful twist. What sits on the walls in Grummert's section are what he calls "geometric abstraction," images of sharply drawn landscapes in candy colors.
For example, Candy cane rapture is an abstract landscape that begins with a hotly colored 70s palette at the bottom, to a milder 60s palette in the middle, to a final 50s pastel color theme at the top. You can faintly make out the impression of mountains and greenery in the paintings.
High noon would be the right time to visit "Variations." If the bright light streaming in during the 6 p.m. opening was enough to illuminate the colors strung throughout the gallery, imagine what the 12 p.m. light would do to San Antonio resident Jessica Ramirez's installation "microorganisms." Pockets of cloth and tulle are sewn together and hung from strings in the gallery's center ceiling, creating what looks like a wall of cotton candy and confectioner's sugar. It is ironic that she would name the piece A Summer's Capture; the ceiling-to-floor installation sits on prime real estate near the gallery's front, where the sun shines natural light into bay windows, which become natural prisms, washing Ramirez's pieces in rainbow tint.
Ramirez said that it took her approximately a month to sew together the colored fabric that makes up her installation. Add 20 more hours to set it up, and Ramirez's final product earns the admiration heaped upon it by Saturday's crowd.
"I like to make them in parts," she said of A Summer's Capture, as well as Arthropods, the "underwater creatures" that hang directly behind the bigger wall of cloth.
"So when I put them together, it's not a preconceived idea."
"Variations in Color" is on view until July 28. Visit ggalleryhouston.com.
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