Friday, December 6, 2019

Paintings by China Star at All Sorts

By Alec Clayton
I See the Mask, painting by China Star
“layers of paint hide and synchronize in an agglomeration of evocative landscape / mind-scape / dreamscape that welcomes the observer to reference their own imagination. i see many things framed in the details and overall image, what do you see?” Thus, China Star describes her paintings (all in lower-case).
A large selection of her densely packed and colorful paintings graces the walls of Batdorf & Bronson Coffeehouse. By the time you read this, the show will be gone, but most if not all will be shown at All Sorts Gallery this weekend and next weekend. I visited the show at Batdorf in order to preview the show at All Sorts, and I’m glad I did. I plan on going to the reception at All Sorts on the 8th because I want to see these paintings again, and because I want to hear China’s talk.
I See the Music Seeping Out, painting by Chin Star
Star’s paintings are eye-popping, decorative abstract paintings filled with stripes and dots and splatters and puddles of black, white, orange, yellow and green paint in black and white frames upon which she has painted dots and dashes to match the patches of color on the canvas. In some of the paintings, parts of the paintings overlap onto the frames.
One of her larger paintings is an abstract painting titled “I See the Synapses Taking Form.” It brings to mind street celebrations such as Mardi Gras or Macy’s Thanksgiving parade, with floats and balloons and celebrating crowds. The colors are slightly more muted in this one than some of the others. There are floating ghost-like images with bold zebra stripes and yellow and green blobs that crawl out onto the frame. Another of her paintings has long, lacy skeins of paint such as in a Jackson Pollock painting and large lozenge-shaped white balloons with black stripes and more black stripes on the white frame.
Much of the paint, primarily acrylic, looks like enamel that has been poured and allowed to puddle. Contrasting with this, there are areas where the paint is thin and transparent and soaked into the canvas.
There is so much going on in her paintings that they would seem chaotic but for the definite patterns and groupings of forms and colors that keep it all unified.
Star says, “my technique is the process of mark making, pouring, brushing, scraping, repetition, trance, releasing a desire towards the referential, allowing things to happen in a collaboration with the unknown to manifest the purest abstraction of form . . .”
She was born in Los Angeles and now makes Olympia her home. Her visual art, animation, word-smithing and musical performances have been exhibited in 25 cities nationally and internationally, and her work has been added to public and private collections.

Evocation and Transformation: The Art of China Star
5-7 p.m. Dec. 6-7 and Dec. 12-13, reception 4-7 p.m. Dec. 8 with artist talk at 5 p.m.
All Sorts Gallery, 2306 Capital Way S., Olympia

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