Philadelphia Inquirer, June 10, 2005
references have become so common in contemporary art
that they no longer appear exotic. Artists have developed
ways to sublimate their source material so completely
that it no longer announces itself.
are artists, Trudy Kraft and Diane Pieri, are showing
gouache and watercolor paintings that evoke nonwestern
cultures without being derivative of them.
emphasize the energizing potential of decorative schemes.
Kraft’s intricate and sometimes large-scale paintings
at the Gross McCleaf Gallery suggest several sources,
including Oriental carpets and Australian aboriginal
paintings. Pierei’s smaller, visually sparser
gouaches at the Rosenfeld Gallery re-create the measured
eloquence of Mughal miniatures.
artists have experienced Japanese culture firsthand,
but neither mimics the visual conventions of that country.
Each, in her own way, transforms a meditative aesthetic
by enlivening it through color, pattern and eccentric
paintings emphasize the emotive power of vivid color
and dense patterning. Pieri’s pictures are cooler
emotionally, but alo unorthodox in the way they juxtapose
color fields and looping marks at the edges. Where Kraft
is assertive, Pieri is quiet and delicate.
two artists share one important and attractive attribute
– they individualize nonwestern influences so
completely that the viewer isn’t consciously aware
of them. In each case, visual delight results.