Continuing through June 23, 2018
Lucinda Cobley’s serene abstract paintings belie an impressive grasp of her materials and how they function to both absorb and reflect light, prompting one writer to refer to her paintings as “layers of light.” For this show, she worked with acrylic, pigment and casein on translucent polyester film, as well as on Hakuho paper (a resilient, translucent Japanese paper made from the bark of the mulberry tree) and Arnheim paper, so-named for the city in Holland. Cobley paints in series, enabling experimentation that results in a variety of optical effects. Included are eight paintings from her “Quondam” series, a term that means “formerly” or “at one time.” Layers of paint and brushstrokes are clearly visible in horizontal washes of color, which give the impression of looking under the surface of a flowing stream or through hazy clouds. The lower level of “Quondam 4” depicts two rectangles that resemble the form of the World Trade Towers or a monolith bisected by a pale stripe.
Cobley mixes minerals such as alabaster, malachite, marble dust and pigment into acrylics and applies the mixture with a brush, squeegee or palette knife. Most works are dominated by either vertical or horizontal color washes. The images in the vertical pieces suggest shifting curtains of light or waterfalls. The horizontal works are aquatic when the hues are a turquoise and aquamarine suggestive of the Caribbean. Others incorporate bands of dusty rose, evoking a sunset on the ocean horizon. Still others are atmospheric, like an expanse of cloud-filled sky. Three paintings date to 2014, when Cobley was working with oil and pigments on layered rectangles of translucent glass and cast acrylic. She painted on the surfaces, using color on the lower levels and white on top, before sandwiching them into a single piece. This produces shifting nuances of luminous color and transparency that reveal her mark-making process. These serve as a reference point for her recent work, as she continues to explore seemingly endless interactions of color, depth and translucence.