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Farraday Newsome and Jeff Reich
Eric Fischl Gallery, Phoenix College, Phoenix, Arizona
Recommendation by Deborah Ross

Farraday Newsome, "Fern, Watch and Shell," glazed terra cotta, 12.5 x 15 x 3.5 inches, 2008. Courtesy of the artist.

Continuing through September 30, 2016

Both Farraday Newsome and her husband Jeff Reich glean ideas from nature for their respective ceramics practice, and both like to translate certain ideas onto canvas. Their works diverge from there but, pulled together, make for a harmonious two-person show.

Newsome produces glazed terra cotta plaques and vessels painted with motifs that initially seem whimsical but invite a more serious introspection about the mysteries of time and space. Objects such as wristwatches, dice and golden rings often float surrealistically amid human hands, shells and birds. One of the most pleasingly enigmatic pieces is “Black Teapot with Moon and Snake” (2015), glazed in black and white, in which a snake displaces the teapot’s handle and spout. And a beautiful vessel depicting the glossy leaves and fruit of an orange tree is paired with Newsome’s rendition of the idea onto canvas.

Reich, for his part, is devoted to the geometry of shapes, especially how triangles, blocks and various polyhedrons can defy expectations of placement. In his earthy abstract sculptures, usually raised onto plinths, chunky glazed elements are adhered together at odd angles, as if Reich is going for a magnified view of a crystal or a suggestion of distinctive rock formations. Some of the surfaces are incised or painted with stylized images of desert vegetation. Also on view are several of Reich’s paintings of hard-edge shapes on the outer portions of the canvas in dialogue with cloud-strewn skies in the middle. Both artists have a knack for overtly eye-pleasing creations that present an underlying tension of ideas.

Phoenix College, Eric Fischl Gallery

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