Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
May 29th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

The Naked Pilgrim

ae2LETTING GO: Companions have reached land’s limit in Down the River. Robynn Smith at MichaelAngelo’s
On wood and on paper, the recent works of Robynn Smith at MichaelAngelo Gallery express with eloquence and passion the sturm und drang shared this moment throughout the world. While the earth cracks and waters heave and the oppressed rise up and monsters aim guns at children and freaks clamber over each other for an antidote to radioactive clouds an ocean away, Smith finds eddies in the grain of wood and draws a tree root pushing into the air, stretching out as if to find a clean spot for life.  This body of work is neither sudden nor impulsive, but, just like the inequities and abominations it alludes to, it has been years in development, and getting darker.

On the banks of a river a woman and a dog become indistinguishable from each other, the hunch of a back becomes a fall of dark hair; an arm blends with a sleek paw in a knot of intention, leaning over a tangle of pipes spewing into rippling waters. In the foreground of Down the River, under the water’s surface a bed of shellfish and rocks glimmers. Beyond the figures, four large rusty-looking balls seem suspended among ripples of current. The composition fixes the eyes on the central figures from which every curved line and pipe and ripple emanate.

Painting on a large plywood panel, Smith deploys the naked concentric whorls of the wood to indicate ripples, and, within painted areas, incises the surface of the wood to use its honey-color as highlights and lines, and the very act of cutting to carry powerful psychological intensity.  A screened photograph acts as the first layer of the shadowed underwater life, over-painted and scarred to create ripples and reflections. The dog, the woman, the confluence of industry and nature, the artifacts of some forgotten disaster, the insistence of life under the waters are all themes to which Smith has returned for many years.  The expressionistic brush and breathless gesture of her lines scream purpose from within the layers of obscurity. What is happening here?

The seven works on wood in this exhibition each carry such intensity and utilize similar tools of over-painted photographic images, incised lines, and a sense of the natural world continuing in the dark place that humans have made.  Smith has long been a pilgrim to sites of disasters: battlefields, bunkers, memorials—as if to feel with her own fingers the evidence. Yet in all these works on wood and also the series of fine art prints exhibited here, she finds within nature that which, within all the darkness, prevails.

“Robynn Smith: Works on Wood and Paper” continues at MichaelAngelo Gallery through March 27.  Gallery hours are Saturday and Sunday noon to 4 p.m. or by appointment at 426-5500.


Maureen Davidson writes about the arts as “The Exhibitionist.” This column and her radio spot and blog at KUSP.org/exhibitionist are funded in part by a grant from the Cultural Council of Santa Cruz County.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Ocean Odyssey

Sailing the high seas from Santa Cruz to French Polynesia, Sally-Christine Rodgers documents the trials, tribulations and joys of exploring the world by boat

 

Gemini Festival of Goodwill, World Invocation Day

This entire week is a preparation by the New Group of World Servers (NGWS) for the June full moon (Tuesday) and to welcome the Forces of Reconstruction, great outer planetary forces streaming into the Earth at the Gemini Solar Festival. The Gemini Festival at the June full moon is called the Festival of Goodwill and World Invocation Day (recitation of the Great Invocation, the mantram of direction for humanity, hourly around the world). During the (12 degrees) Gemini festival, the Wesak blessing of the will-to-good is released and radiated (Gemini distributes) to humanity. When the will-to-good is received, humanity is then able to radiate goodwill to each other and to the kingdoms. The Gemini Festival is the third of the Three Spring Festivals (triangle of Force), setting the spiritual template and resources for Earth for the rest of the year (‘til next spring). This festival recognizes the true spirit of humanity—aspiring toward and seeking the will of God, dedicated to right human relation. At the full moon, the Divine nature of humanity is recognized. Christ stands with humanity, leader of his people, “the Eldest in a great family of brothers” (Romans VIII, 29.) Each year at the Gemini festival, Christ preaches the last sermon of Buddha, His brother, a sermon calling forth human and spiritual unity, represented by an outflow of love (work of the Christ) and wisdom (work of the Buddha). The forces of reconstruction stream in during the Festival, ushering in an era of pronounced creative activity, rebuilding the tangible world on new creative lines. This necessitates the total destruction of the old forms no longer useful for the new world era. Everyone is invited. Join us everyone for this Festival of Goodwill by reciting the Great Invocation.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of May 29

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

The Main Avant

Jozseph Schultz caters New Music Works’ 35th annual Avant Garden Party, plus brews for a cause

 

What will Santa Cruz be like in the future?

 society that is more awakened and realizes its own value and the beauty of the stunning Earth. Marguerite Clifford, Felton, Nutrition Health Care

 

Chesebro Wines

Piedras Blancas-Roussanne 2011

 

Real Thai Kitchen

Ratana Bowden on why Thai cuisine isn’t as spicy as everyone thinks