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"Mokha Laget: Chromatic Constructs" Provides Delightful Moments

My first praise for Mokha Laget is to compliment her on breaking free of what I term "the tyranny of the rectangle", a straightjacket which many artists seem condemned to wear. Her shapes are her own, and they are refreshingly different.

Laget's work has elements of architecture - while the paintings are two-dimensional, the images portray boxes, pathways, edifices that entice one to enter to explore their interiors - would that you could - and combinations that suggest mazes.

Laget uses vivid, striking colors, including an effective use of black, which seem to jostle each other - perhaps fighting for territory? The contrasts delight and the combinations entertain. Laget uses clay-based pigments on canvas, with the central theme of her work that each color field is an entity to itself - there is no blending, no softening, no blurring, just a color seeking - no, demanding! - its place in the sun.

Ponte Vecchio, my favorite, has two strong vertical elements, the right one more multi-colored than the left, joined at the middle by two irregular constructs. The title suggests a bridge, but it might just as easily be an abstract winged angel.

Sahel is simpler, an elongated strip folded at the top and bottom, orange, yellow and purple. Though simple, it has energy and style, and even wit. Sahel is the wide and extended strip of land just south of the Sahara Desert in Africa, and north of the Sudanian Savanna, so the folded ends suggest these territories. This work, however, stand on its own without this bit of knowledge.

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The shapes in Butte do suggest that kind of mountain rise, but the sharp edges suggest even more, to me, a protective castle-wall for the habitat of a superior alien species, or perhaps a monolith left behind when they departed, left for us to ponder.

Because of their striking, accentuated and framed colors, and their wit, these works seem to be aperitifs, rather than dinner. They whet the appetite, and supply a delightful moment, and merit careful scrutiny. But they do not seem to require study, for one of their great strengths is in their straightforward presentation, their instant command of your field of vision. They do not hurl a lance into your heart, nor are they intended to.

I don't think one would want three of these in one's home, no matter how large. But one or two would serve admirably to brighten a room or rooms, or even to brighten and enrich a life.

Mokha Laget: Chromatic Constructs continues through November 1 at Sonja Roesch Gallery, 2309 Caroline, open Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., 713-659-5424, gallerysonjaroesch.

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