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Terrell James 
Froelick Gallery, Portland, Oregon
Recommendation by Richard Speer

Terrell James, "Box 5" from "Box Drawings," 2011, ink, acrylic on vellum, 17 x 11"

Continuing through July 12, 2014

“Four Decades,” an elegant retrospective of Houston-based artist Terrell James’ diverse output, demonstrates that line has been the driving force across her body of work. Her drawings and paintings gravitate toward intuitive, organic shapes and jauntily rhythmic compositions. A particular revelation here is her "Box Drawings" series. These works are comprised of two semi-transparent sheets of vellum paper, each painted in acrylic paint and ink. 

The subtlety of the ink passages contrasts dramatically with the lusciousness of the acrylic. The dialogue between the fully visible front sheet and the partially obscured backing alternately suggests a Hans Hofmann-esque push/pull and a cityscape half-glimpsed behind veils of mist.  This two-sheet conceit lends a sense of sfumato that is nothing less than hypnotic. The foreground/background integration central to these works is echoed in larger paintings such as “Panoply" and “Tumble," in which curvilinear forms twist and climb like licks of flame. Throughout the exhibition, the rigor of James’ architectonic handling of form is counterweighted by a chromatic buoyancy that verges on the ecstatic.

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