Frances Barth and Mernet Larsen in two solo exhibitions at Marcia Wood Gallery.
Frances Barth is a noted American artist and teacher. She makes abstract paintings and videos and has been the director of the multi-disciplinary Graduate school at Maryland Institute College of Art, the Mount Royal School of Art, since 2004. Born in New York City, a graduate of Hunter College for both her BFA and MFA, Frances was on the faculty at Yale University from 1986 and appointed professor in 2001. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1977 and is in the canon of historically significant women abstract painters working in New York since the 1970’s. Her work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others.
Barth’s acrylic paintings are in a realm between landscape, mapping and abstraction. The narratives in the paintings are stories taking place over a period of geological time, with references both topographic and tectonic, alluding to simultaneous multiple histories. The light that Barth creates within her paintings is a spell-binding presence that shifts the picture plane into a deep dimensional space. Barth’s use of abstract color further lends to the paintings an atmosphere and sense of place.
Mernet Larsen is Professor Emeritus of Painting at the University of South Florida, where she taught for 35 years. She has also taught at Yale among other institutions, been a visiting artist at Rhode Island School of Design, Antioch College and the New York Studio School, among others. She has had over 25 solo exhibitions, including a solo show at the New York Studio School in 2005 and a 25-year retrospective at the Deland (FL) Museum of Art in 1992. She has had over 70 group exhibitions, including in the American Academy of Arts and Letters Annual Purchase Exhibition in NY, “Transitory Patterns” at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, “Made in Florida” which traveled internationally. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Ringling Museum of Art, Tampa Museum of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, FL, and numerous other public and private collections.
Larsen’s figurative paintings are complex geometric abstractions in which multi-view perspective and a deliberately awkward relationship between volume and space create a sense of vertigo, causing the viewer to “hold each situation in your mind almost as if you are wearing it.” Working in acrylic on canvas with tracing paper collaged onto the surface, the artist notes that the structures within her paintings are often inspired by the paintings of El Lissitsky, Japanese 12th century narrative painting, Chinese landscape painting, and the palace paintings in Udaipur, India. At first glance, the surreal situations and almost cartoonish figurations seem wholly humorous. In time however, a pervasive sense of longing and contemplation arises. Larsen’s desire is “to evoke a sense of permanence, solidity, weight; time stopped, essences of ordinary events made tangible.”
Through April 9.
Marcia Wood Gallery
263 Walker Street
Atlanta, Georgia 30313