The Living, Breathing Woods
Rachel Burke takes us for a walk in a very gestural forest
With a master hand, Rachel Burke unravels nature through line, color and gesture in her recently opened show "All Around Me" at Glass Growers Gallery.
With lush, sweeping color, Burke captures different seasons and moods. Spring's chaotic burgeoning is captured in works such as "Spring Gestures" and "April Greens," where bright lemon-lime greens burst forward and dash hurriedly around the canvas. Winter's more stark architecture is drawn in works like "Shadow Paths," depicting a simple path meandering its way through slim, leafless trees and long, sinuous shadows on a bright but cool afternoon.
While nature is center stage in all of these works, some are more figural than others.
Many reach towards abstractions built with linear motion and bold blocks of color. "Up Close Far Away" contains a riot of gestural lines across the surface that hold back loose areas of red and green, creating a frantic quality that moves the viewer's eyes forward and back in a tense but cohesive struggle.
These are not serene landscapes that soothe the eye in the same way a typical landscape might. These works reveal "the underlying structures [of nature] that pulsate with life," as Burke explains in her artist's statement. They breathe, depicting a place where "branches, stems, and roots are the arteries and veins" of a living, changing organism.
It's clear Burke spends much time in the woods around her home that are the inspiration for this collection of 12 works. And her many years of dedication to painting are evident. She not only sees the woods and the intricate relationships working together there, but feels it and offers works where the tendrils of a complex ecosystem reach out to the viewer to tell their stories.
Ongoing through Sept. 10, Mon-Fri 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Sat 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. // Glass Growers Gallery, 10 E. Fifth St. // glassgrowersgallery.com
Mary Birdsong can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org