By Tom Wachunas
“There is no shape to the feeling that has gripped me, no name. Manifested in amorphous sensations and rippling currents – bringing one moment a tear, then a smile; there is no comprehending this wave. A hummingness courses through my mind.”
― Radhika Mukherjee, from “Broken Shadows”
“Abstract art is uniquely modern. It is a fundamentally romantic response to modern life - rebellious, individualistic, unconventional, sensitive, irritable.” - Robert Motherwell
EXHIBIT: Emily Orsich – First Solo Exhibit, at John Strauss Studio, 236 Walnut Avenue NE, downtown Canton, THROUGH DECEMER 16, 2022 / viewing hours Monday-Friday 10 a.m to 5 p.m / Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
A recurring motif in Emily Orsich’s commanding paintings is a confluence of assertive boldness and delicate fragility, describing things simultaneously settled and tentative, solid and liquid. Her configurations are kinetic, intricate synchronies of opposites that nonetheless exist in an uneasy equilibrium.
So what could these ‘things,’ these ‘opposites’ be? Maybe think of the painter as a cartographer, drawing in code, here mapping terrains of a kind, often inlaid with broad swaths of black and blood red - like rivers, deep-cut roads, or skid marks - juxtaposed with wandering crooked rivulets, amorphous translucent pools, and quiet, empty plains.
Beyond sketchy, enigmatic connections to earthly geography, however, the expressive immediacy of these works also suggests metaphors for another type of terrain. Which is to say the artist’s state of mind and heart.
In this context, consider Orsich’s style of abstraction as a kind of writing. Think of her mark-making as a spontaneous cursive script, approaching a form of calligraphy both agitated and strangely elegant.
Could these paintings then indeed be narratives about Orsich, and by extension, all of us viewers willing to trust our own intuitions? Are these stories about navigating personal relationships? About resolving conflicts? Or finding joy amidst chaos? Or serenity in anxiety? Psychological balance? About growth, discovery, and catharsis?
The answer’s in the looking. More power to ‘ya.