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if you cut it, they will come
McMurtrey Gallery, Houston, Texas
Review by Donna Tennant


Lance Letscher, ''A&P,'' 2013, collage on masonite, 36 x 32''.

 

Continuing through October 19, 2013

 

Each of the six artists in this show creates work that fits the theme “Cut It and They Will Come,” but their techniques and the finished pieces are very different. Lance Letscher and Sandi Seltzer Bryant use scissors and glue to create complex, highly detailed paper collages, with Seltzer Bryant adding paint as well. Rusty Scruby starts with flat photographs and ends up with striking three-dimensional pieces assembled from creased, folded and cut interlocking chevrons. Jane Eifler’s colorful, complex “second-generation” collages are created, then scanned and printed on smooth surfaces to which she adds additional collage elements. Ted Larsen’s wall pieces are flat yet still sculptural, made from shaped pieces of “salvaged” steel assembled into elegant geometric constructions. And then there’s Michael Guidry’s “Phantom,” which is painted directly onto a freestanding wall that slices diagonally across the gallery. 

 

Letscher’s recent collages incorporate letters of the alphabet. Although he also uses dozens of found images cut from magazines, books, and other sources, individual letters dominate the picture plane. “A&P” has a large 'A' and 'P,' but also a bright green and blue capital 'M,' an orange lower-case 'a,' and the word “cowboy” spelled out in curly script. The geometric quality of the letters anchors the piece, keeping the viewer’s eye from wandering off the surface. Highly complex, Letscher’s work holds up under scrutiny, revealing a dazzling array of details that are skillfully layered and interwoven.

 

Seltzer Bryant’s work continues to reflect the influence of her travels to China, Southeast Asia, and Mexico over the past few years. She brought back more than exotic papers and woven fabrics — she returned with a new approach to making art. Instead of using just paint, she layers strips and squares of cut paper into vibrant collages to which she adds varying degrees of paint and medium for texture. One untitled piece, distinctly Asian in nature, incorporates Chinese rice papers and calligraphic characters with patches of gold paint and areas of turquoise, navy, and orange. In another collage, squares of silver foil and pink paper, as well as printed and checked patterns and narrow strips of gold, blue, and green, make her surface vibrate with energy.

 

Guidry’s “Phantom” is an other-worldly urban landscape in which geometric gray towers and spires are silhouetted against broad, angular patches of blue and an expanse of white. The tall shapes rise up behind bands of olive and army green in the foreground. The immense size of the piece — the towers are about eight feet tall, and the piece itself is eighteen feet wide — make it feel like one could step right into this surreal cityscape.

 

All of the artists in this show have developed innovative techniques and tools to achieve their finished products. Whether they use a camera, digital printer, can of latex paint, matte knife, metal snips, or just scissors and glue is irrelevant. It’s the final product that counts. Each of these pieces is a compelling and unique creation worthy of our attention.


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