Friday, March 1, 2013

Urban detritus

Marsha Glaziere’s roadside paintings at Fulcrum

reviewed by Alec Clayton
The Weekly Volcano Feb. 28, 2013
Marsha Glaziere, "Schuster Parkway I" acrylic and mixed media
I was impressed with Marsha Glaziere’s paintings at Fulcrum Gallery.
There are only seven paintings in the show, but they are large. They fill the space and demand attention.

Glaziere’s acrylic and mixed-media paintings picture the gritty industrial side of cities with a focus on interweaving networks of highway overpasses and ramps. The city in question is clearly Tacoma although something like a kaleidoscopic view of Seattle’s Safeco Field makes an appearance in one of her paintings.

These paintings are raw, gritty and bombastic, with collage elements integrated into the painting as well as any I’ve ever seen. She uses wire mesh, wood, metal, paper, corrugated cardboard and other materials to create textures and hints of imagery that peek out here and there like remnants of old billboards showing through where more recent ones have been ripped open. 

Despite dense and complex imagery and materials her compositions are simple with, in most paintings, no more than two or three major forms delineated by sections of road or a scrim of buildings. These larger forms set up strong directional sweeps of motion that are highly dramatic.

Gallery owner Oliver Doriss describes her work this way: “The only way to examine a departed culture is through its legacy of artifacts. Like the Egyptian pyramids and the Pantheon of Rome we shall be known as The Great Road Builders. Marsha Glaziere reworks these monumental formations into intimate landscapes. Coaxing the essence of sun-dappled glen from visually neglected industrial spaces. The resulting mosaic of color, repurposed imagery, and textured physical objects mimic the frenetic vibration of our contemporary culture.”

“Schuster Parkway I” is light and airy in atmospheric tones of blue and white despite heavy materials with a view of the parkway looking up from midway between a lower and upper expanse. “Schuster Parkway II” offers a much heavier look at the same structure with strong movement from different directions converging to a point a little off center where they meet like slipping tectonic plates.

“View From the Viaduct (Tacoma)” is the one referred to earlier with Safeco Field in the background. With this recognizable image and a couple of cranes and industrial buildings and Mt. Rainier in the background, this “Tacoma” painting is set in Seattle. With its long horizontal format it is a more peaceful painting than any of her others and also the safest, most accessible and most gimmicky — due primarily to the inclusion of a woman easel painter on the left. 

Also fascinating are many of the small details that pop out upon close inspection. Notice the way the sky shows through the pillars in “Schuster Parkway I” and the chain on the left, the map on the right and the Art Work logo that shows up in more than one of her paintings.

This is an excellent show of powerful paintings by an artist I’d love to see much more of.

[Fulcrum Gallery, Roadside, noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday and Fridays and by appointment, through April 12, 1308 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma, 253.250.0520]
 March 12th - April 19th

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