Into the Blue
The Gloaming #1 - 9 Waiting Finding Blue (detail) Blue The Gloaming 2 The Gloaming #1 - 9 (detail)
By Tom Wachunas
“The substance of painting is light.” – Andre Derain
“Art to me is an anecdote of the spirit…” - Mark Rothko
“Almost without exception, blue refers to the domain of abstraction and immateriality.” - Wassily Kandinsky
EXHIBIT: Jordi Rowe presents Blueing of the Light: The Gloaming / in Studio M at Massillon Museum / THROUGH FEBRUARY 26, 2023 / 121 Lincoln Way East, downtown Massillon, Ohio / (330)- 833-4061
A MassMusings podcast interview with the artist will be posted at www.MassillonMuseum.org/533 , and on Spotify on Tuesday, February 21, 2023, at noon.
Painter Jordi Rowe concludes the artist statement she posted for her exhibit with these thoughts: “Like abstract painters before me, I encompass the viewers in the emotion of experience, add in the remarkableness of the commonplace, and aspire to crystallize a particular everyday moment. I find it rejuvenating.” With this series of spectacular paintings, she has indeed realized her aspirations in truly sublime fashion.
The “commonplace” she refers to has much to do with a phase of twilight known as gloaming – those moments of chromatic glowing in the sky right after sunset and just before full nightfall. Sometimes, for a few seconds, when the sun is at a particular position below the horizon, that glowing can become a quickened pulse bursting into an instantaneous flash of intensified color.
Rowe’s facile confluences of oil, acrylic and spray paints produce a dramatic materiality. The sumptuous tactility of her surfaces turns what quantum physics calls the wave lengths of light into what could be called wave weights of vibrant hues. Her painted abstract “skies” are effervescent vistas, breathtaking fields at once dense and diaphanous, earthy and ethereal, comprised of particulate stuff – misty, thick, fluid, rising and falling. Here’s a beautiful conjunction of substance and spirit, all breathing at the nexus of the physical and the metaphysical.
Especially compelling is her sprawling installation called The Gloaming, #1- 9. These nine canvases are mounted close together in a single long row spanning two gallery walls. You could start taking it in on the bright yellow end, and follow the colors through those enthralling blues into the night. Or, walk from the opposite dark end of the row to greet the sunrise. Either way, it’s about the passage of time through fugitive moments of a day, each condensed into a finite plane - a page, if you will - and each a complete picture in itself.
It’s like reading verses of an epic, wondrous poem in paint.