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We may not have access to our newly opened Hoos Family Art Gallery, but that won’t stop us from connecting together over culture in our own backyard! Pour your cup of coffee and connect with local artists from the comfort of your own home. Send your questions in advance or ask live during the 30 minute sessions. Register in advance and we’ll see you soon
Artist Information: Artist Description: Shilo Ratner is an artist and educator whose work is interpreted as geometric abstract landscape paintings. Her work explores architectural and natural landscapes using a hyper-realistic execution of stillness, through a tight complex network of lines and forms. Ratner’s award-winning paintings have been exhibited in galleries and museums in the United States and Tel Aviv, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Bryant Street Gallery in Palo Alto, CA as well as Art Fairs such as Fresh Paint Tel Aviv, Israel. Her work is part of dozens of collections nationally and abroad.
I n painting after painting in Shilo Ratner’s soon-ending solo exhibition at DaSilva Gallery, big blocks of color meet contrasting angles and lines and bands. Together, they suggest a grand experiment in which the artist seems to be working out a pattern, using shapes and colors to reach a deeper sense of order.
There’s repetition in the obtuse angles, knife-edged lines and flat
fields. But each time, the treatment is a little bit different, like
multiple attempts at a tangram puzzle in which you try first one
solution, then another. Does the large block belong at the top of the
canvas, compressing the thinner lines below? Does it belong at the
bottom, with an accumulation of thinner lines above? Or should it,
perhaps, float in the center or even higher?
In Looking Up at the Open Sky, a “horizon” line tips ever so
slightly, to vertiginous effect. Other lines compensate by tipping in
the opposite direction, but it’s hard to find the level. With a large,
pale blue block of color dominating the top of the canvas, the
experience of looking up at the sky and losing touch with the ground is
Shifting Waters shifts the experiment with a dominating dark
wall that slices diagonally through the canvas in shades of brown and
green striped with red. Like the horizon in Open Sky, this
partition is unsettling; each of its bands of color locates the wall’s
corner in a different place. A segmented gray shape follows it like a
sidewalk. In the background, cheerful blues peek through.
Only two of the show’s 16 paintings break the pattern to include a
portion of a circle, partially obscured by horizontal lines, which calls
to mind a rising or setting sun. Seeing these pieces last might make
the circles an element of surprise, but one is displayed in the front
window and the other just inside the door. Their placement seems to
instruct us to think of the more squared geometric images that follow as
doing the same: overlapping and obscuring one another, just as the
circle is obscured by the lines that hide its completion.
Sure enough, on closer examination, Ratner’s paintings are more
layered and subtle than they first appear. Return for a second look and
then a third; even more layers emerge. It’s as if the closer you step to
these works, the farther in they draw you. For example, once you notice
them, subtle banded and triangular ghosts behind an ivory block of
color in Temple of the Moon give the unexpected effect of sunlight casting a quiet shadow.
Ratner sees her artwork as a form of meditation. Her painting process
begins each day with Japa meditation, which uses sound repetition in
the form of mantras that put her in a positive frame of mind to approach
the canvas intuitively. “I just start with a shape,” she says. She
draws on her formal art education—a knowledge of color and brush
technique, for example—but mostly, she says, the paintings “sort of just
evolve on their own. They have their own voice, and I try to just bring
it out on the canvas.”
The colors she chooses—tiger orange, sapphire blue, sunny
yellow—excite the eye, and yet the way her shapes hug tight and her
lines stretch straight conveys a sense of stability. Even when she’s
tipping us off balance, the tilt feels more playful than precarious.
The net positive effect is intentional, Ratner says. She names some of the things that are tilting our global society today—climate change, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia. “I try to bring beauty into the world,” she says. “[I’m] not saying that I’m not aware of everything that’s happening, but I’m trying to put something out there that doesn’t have that angst, so I when I’m creating the work, I want to create these calm visions, kind of this optimistic view of the world I see in the chaotic times we’re living in.”
First Solo Show of the New Decade! Join me this Saturday for my first solo show of 2020. It’s also my first ever New Haven, CT solo show. DaSilva Gallery: 899 Whalley Ave, New Haven, CT 06515 Reception 1/11/20, 5-7pm See What’s New on Instagram