Cohn Drennan Gallery, Dallas
“Environs” presents the work of three artists and it’s readily apparent that one is wholly unique and, in fact, outstrips the other two. Put bluntly, Ron Clark and Betty Sewell work on large canvases that are muted and unremarkable. They’re not shocking; they’re not lucent. They offer no spark or burn. Consider them Visual Logrolling. They have no power to transport you or renew your psyche with unexpected, new landscapes — albeit abstract ones. That being said: Susan Perkins is in a wholly different category and works in very different media.
Her new works, “Luminous Impressions” are precisely that. They’re crafted of paper, fiber and sumi ink and operate as visual koans. They’re signs that point to a deeper, transcendent world. Moreover, with names like “Everything Belongs” and “Graced,” it’s easy to find theological intent. However, that’s slightly too facile. They’re so bare and stripped down that they become contemporary analogues for Illuminated manuscripts. They show you the “space between,” the interstices, that’s described by contemporary physicists and monastic practitioners.
If you think of Perkins’ work as a kind of string theory, you’re on the right track. It shows off the humming center from which all things unfurl. She also proves that the universe isn’t just “luminous” — she also intimates that it’s also remarkably elegant.
The show ends February 16.
— PATRICIA MORA