"Unfolding: Lucrecia Waggoner" Where Open Spaces Are as Important as the Art Elements

The open spaces in some of Lucrecia Waggoner's art are as important as the art elements themselves. Two major works in this elegant and graceful exhibition are comprised of numerous, very numerous, individual ceramic plate-like "vessels", so how they are arranged is paramount.

290 in the Spring has 98 vessels arrayed in an elongated shape, lower on the left, higher on the right, to give the impression of soaring upward. The spaces between the vessels are sufficiently large to create an open, airy feeling, without breaking the sense of a unified whole.

The totality is beautiful, and each individual plate is beautiful in itself. The plates are deep blue, glazed porcelain, with palladium-leaf centers, and vary in size, though none is large enough to dominate. The entire effect is eminently successful.

Unfolding has 112 vessels, white ceramic, with small gold-leaf centers. The shape is asymmetrical, elongated, like an Olympian god's beginning sketch of a dinosaur. The space between the plates is used wisely, and the complex structure here also retains an airy, open feeling.

With spaces so important, the background or wall becomes a critical, even a dominant element. The wall here is a pale blue, close to white in color, though the photo doesn't quite capture it. The 112 vessels thus lack the striking contrast that 290 in the Spring has, with its strongly blue vessels. I yearned to see Unfolding against an orange or - dare I think it? - even a fuchsia wall; it might be even more wonderful.

There are two pieces, Sanctuary I and Sanctuary II, that capture a woodland, perhaps a fairy-tale, feeling. They are definitely three dimensional, with a great many vessels attached to sturdy wooden branches; the plates or vessels thus seem like mushrooms, growing on the trees. Each one is different in shape, and in detail, but they complement each other so well that I hope a patron buys both, lest they be separated from love, like the Ent trees in The Lord of the Rings.

There are three separate "Lotus" works, similar but different, each containing a large ceramic plate against a 39" square bronze-colored wood. Lotus Reflection has a much smaller plate within the large one, and a bronze-colored center. It has a Zen-like simplicity, yet conveys power and authority.

Goddess is a sculpture of six pottery bowls stacked, with an open space of bronze fretwork between the top one and the one beneath, creating the impression of the top bowl being a metaphorical head. This top bowl has a lip, and seems to be unfolding. The sculpture is interesting, but seemed more ponderous and earthbound than Olympian.

Vase with Red and Gold is the only work I would term a failure. The 22" high vase is red, seems roughly finished, and at its top a sliver of the yellow interior is seen. To me, it seems top-heavy and graceless, out-of-character for this artist.

Some other works have large plates, perhaps four or five, more clustered than the two major works. In seeing them, I sometimes wished to move a plate from here to there. That in the midst of scrutinizing composition, one becomes so deeply involved in Waggoner's art is a tribute to the flexibility of her art, and of her rich talent.

Unfolding: Lucrecia Waggoner continues through October 13 at Laura Rathe Fine Art, 2707 Colquitt, open Tuesday to Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., 214-686-1441, laurarathe.com

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