Her nexus revisited…and then some
By Tom Wachunas
“Originality is nothing but judicious imitation…” – Voltaire
EXHIBIT: Mixed Media Paintings By TINA MYERS . THROUGH OCTOBER 19, 2018 at The Malone Art Gallery (MAG) - inside the east entrance of the Johnson Center, located on Malone's campus at 2600 Cleveland Ave, N.W., in Canton, Ohio / Gallery hours are Monday – Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., or by appointment. /
|NV (top) / Greeter|
MEET THE ARTIST RECEPTION: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 6-7:30 P.M.
“Making time for art and creative expression has always been an essential part of my well-being. I find that many colors, shapes, and textures are soothing or fascinating to me, and I am thrilled when those elements work together to form something pleasing to the eye. I enjoy the freedom and sense of adventure that abstract art offers, and I generally like to create without a lot of conscious intention. Each piece will usually morph several times, as I test my own ability to create form and space. I love to see how spectators experience and interpret my finished work, and am especially impressed when a piece prompts someone’s imagination or speaks to them in a way I never would have considered or planned.”
Déjà vu all over again? Yes and no. I’ve commented in a positive way on the work of prolific painter Tina Meyers more than a few times here over the past several years, and her current exhibit at MAG does nothing to diminish my favorable disposition towards her work. That said, this show does in fact bring up a few thoughts and questions about the overall direction of her aesthetic. In presenting them, though, I think it could first be useful – necessary, actually - for to you to read (or re-read as the case may be) my review of her 2016 solo exhibit at The Little Art Gallery. This way, I’m hoping you’ll appreciate what I consider to be foundational in assessing Meyer’s work. Your mission, should you decide to accept it (surely not an impossible one) is to click on this the link to the 2016 review:
What I wrote in 2016 remains appropriate and relevant to what is now on view at Malone. This isn’t in itself a bad thing, though it might suggest that in the last two years, Meyers has remained steadfast in her pictorial comfort zones. Again, this certainly isn’t a bad thing. Still, I don’t think I’m alone in wondering about painters who appear to have settled into a routine formula for replicating predictable variations on the same themes. After all, if it ain’t busted, why fix it, right? This is the sense I initially had here when viewing her portraits and cityscapes – more of those quirky riffs on Cubist and Expressionist modalities. Robust as they are, it seemed to me that she’s continuing to simply operate comfortably in her long-established signature style.
Maybe it’s my personal journey as an artist that’s really at the core of these considerations, having recently navigated a daunting crossroads in my own work, prompted by a nagging desire to venture beyond the material niche I had created for myself. Making art had become a repetitious mechanical task, a set of all-too-familiar procedures. Each new piece was becoming essentially an imitation of the previous one - a rote packaging of the same ideas, over and over again. I had boxed myself in and it was time to find a way out. But I digress. Back to Tina Meyers.
It was only after a more intentional, concentrated look at her 32 pieces in this exhibit that I noticed an evolution of sorts, beginning with one of the largest acrylic paintings, “Sunset Gathering.” It’s a delightfully festive, even frantic work with a strongly tactile incorporation of various collage materials. Similarly, it’s the collaged textures in “42nd Street” that provide a jocular if not surreal spirit to a cityscape traversed by pedestrians who look like they’re visitors from a classic Saul Steinberg cartoon.
Additionally, there are nine paintings executed on small corrugated cardboard cartons, among those “NV” and “Greeter,” both incorporating paper and cardboard collage elements. The charged surfaces of these works, protruding from the wall somewhat like relief sculptures, bring a refreshingly playful dynamic to Meyers’ oeuvre.
While there’s no telling yet how far she might pursue the possibilities of such expanded dimensionality, here’s to her aesthetic thinking outside the box.