October 20 – November 26, 2011
Presenting new acrylic paintings on canvas by abstract artist Peggy Bates in an exhibition entitled Channels inspired by the artist’s recent observations of light and color in California’s Channel Islands. Although Bates’ experiences with the landscape and seascape in her frequent travels inspire her work, her oeuvre is not landscape painting per se. They seem to be painted from a different angle than traditional landscapes. Looking at her work is like experiencing the land and the sea from the sky, with the horizon outside of one’s point of view. Bates encourages viewers to look, not for the facts of landscape, but for a remembered sense of air, land and water. What we see in Channels is carefully constructed, non-objective painting based on memory of ocean and land. Bates revisits her memories by creating a robust iconography that has a charmingly lyrical feel to it. Vivid hues of poured blues, greens, and oranges contrast and interact with pale blue, lavender or grey grounds. In Bates’ work, the active synthesis of hard-edged shapes and pale, flat grounds is uncommon. This is not simple figure-ground painting, and the fields in the paintings are never static. Following Bates’ colors on their journeys through imagined space is a joyful experience. As our eyes wander about in one of her paintings, we become aware of the breadth and depth of Bates’ vision, and of her bold attempt at designing a new, non-art-historical, abstract painting.