NANCY MOYER | SPECIAL TO THE MONITOR
“FLOW SPACE” by Simon Alexander and Eva M. Williamson is a quiet and remarkably strong exhibit at the McAllen Creative Incubator.
In this concept-charged two-person exhibition, Alexander’s work focuses on linear drawings while Williamson delves deeply into fluid acrylics. Both artists engage with concepts of space and flow, but from distinctly different platforms, making this show very intriguing.
Williamson is all about flow, yet space happens in her paintings. Her fluid art creations combine different types of acrylics to produce startling moments of visual determinations.
Ultimately, her work is expressive and connects to the inner self, allowing the viewer direct and visceral feelings, but her works also suggest cosmic adventures. The acrylic flow is intuitive and, when successful, offers paintings that are either deeply within or deeply distant, merging the intent of the medium with the control of the artist.
“Introspection” takes us on an inner journey into a realm of perceptual exploration that resonates.
Williamson has been involved with the process of using fluid acrylics and pouring for three years.
“At the beginning of the process,” she said. “I thought my goal was to let go of control, but I found that by letting go of control I was gaining control in other ways.”
As opposed to intellectual abstraction, Williamson wanted to convey certain feelings as in, “Thoughts on Dad.”
“I wanted to express the feelings I had when my dad passed away by using this method on canvas, because it was that juxtaposition of control — letting go, but also still having that control,” Williamson said. That dynamic juxtaposition is her forte.
Alexander also speaks of process, but not necessarily with his gel medium. His intellectual focus fuses traditional drawing concepts with technology and physics, beginning with the concept of line and how additional lines can create spatial illusion. The drawings employ traditional linear perspectives and complex curves as subject elements, emitting an energy of controlled spontaneity through the idea of heterodyne points or frequencies. A physics concept, it can be translated into a visual space by rhythmic repetition and convergence.
“Full Contact” is a brilliant work that has the most perspectives of any of the pieces in the show. One-point, two-point, isometric, and three-point perspectives, are fused into a radial symmetry based on heterodyne points. But that’s not all that makes this and the other drawings interesting; they are 3-D printed.
“I love exploring technology,” he said. “We’ve got this wonderful piece of technology in our head that is able to control our hands and create these things. A 3-D printer is a piece of technology that moves in three dimensions like our hands do. One night I was looking at the printer and thought, OK, you’re a tool and operate in space like my brain; what can you do that you’re not supposed to do that I can use you for?”
Alexander’s drawings are digital; he rewrote the code to the printer and created a tool for it that could hold pencils and brushes.
“That was important to me,” he said, “bringing the technological into a traditional technique.”
Although the drawings are inspired by the effect of line on space, the conceptual interjection of frequencies and connections creates powerfully flowing images. “Shifting” becomes hypnotic in its sense of flow; its optical illusion assaults the space, the shift of visual frequencies flow and the unexpected placement of the image sparks life. Alexander’s Achilles’ heel may be overdrawing and allowing unique structure to collapse into the merely decorative.
The exhibition installation plays with viewers’ minds, alternating rhythmically from intellectual perception to emotional perception — an exhilarating mental workout. Abstract art forms engage both artists, with Williamson demonstrating a dialogue with her materials, and Alexander bending the tool of technology to his will. These two artists have created vastly different personal processes to achieve their aesthetic goals.
Nancy Moyer, Professor Emerita of Art at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, is an art critic for The Monitor. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IF YOU GO
What: “FLOW SPACE”
Where: McAllen Creative Incubator Gallery, 601 N. Main Street
When: Through January 25
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday