This is a story of small odysseys: George Lawson relocated his gallery from San Francisco to Los Angeles during the summer months, and opened the fall season with paintings by artist Sara Bright, who moved from San Francisco to New York during that same period. For some artists and galleries, such moves would be unsettling. For this pair, it only helped them find their footing.
The show features ten paintings -- all oil on linen panels ranging in size from one foot across to almost five. The paintings are quiet and robust, alternating between figuration and abstraction (water and bridges seem to appear and disappear before my eyes in her works). They are gestural and fluid, playful but also contemplative.
"Trying to Make a Heart"
Bright's 48" x 54" painting Trying to Make a Heart is particularly devastating and sweet, and among the more minimal and narrative pieces in the show. On a layered, coral background, two solitary, curled lines, one brown, the other plum, face one another but do not touch. As the title indicates, they are at a standstill, unable to entangle with one another to form a union. It is a quiet piece, and one that suggests a distant longing behind Bright's buoyant painterly gestures.
Indeed, the more I look at Bright's paintings, the more I understand them to be little secrets; small, mysterious roadmaps to places I have never been, but still feel uncannily familiar. The great French symbolist poet Arthur Rimbaud wrote, "I turned silences and nights into words. What was unutterable, I wrote down. I made the whirling world stand still." This sentiment may be usefully applied to Bright's collection of paintings, which together form a kind of expression for a thing difficult to articulate, navigate, or portray: The vibrancy of human feelings and interactivity in a vast, engulfing natural world. Bright's paintings are all landscapes, though some seem to map feelings and others topography.