Sager Braudis Gallery’s June Exhibition Showcases Elegant Disturbances
The four artists featured in June exhibition at the Sager Braudis gallery defy expectations and disrupt conventions just enough to throw viewers away and leave them enough resources to come together again.
Lindsay Gwinn Parker, Brian Phillips, Cydney Ross and Joel Sager live scattered across the country and work in distinct mediums and styles. The fact that their work shares this common thread – a gentle, thoughtful curve into chaos – and seems to converse with each other in the absence of actual conversation between the artists is a testament to the keen eye of the gallery curators.
Columbia viewers will be more tuned in and familiar with the work of director of the Sager gallery. His painting retains a unique Midwestern quality, leaning into the shadows and spiritual turmoil of the region.
Much of the work known to loyal followers of Sager stands for nothing less than representation – but certainly qualifies as something more. He often turns scenes or, at the very least, matches the emotion of a set by showing the slow alteration of time and discontent.
Here, he fully embraces abstraction while resonating his voice as confidently as ever. Songs with cheeky and tragic titles – “A Small Death”, “At Church on Drugs”, “Woke Up Joyless”, “There’s F-kery Afoot”, et al. – unite bursts of color, scratches and claw marks and cloudy backgrounds.
It’s as if Sager has brought the spirit of his work even more to the fore, grounding everything but element, ambiance and character. These pieces bring the viewer together to get lost in the color, contemplate the zig and the zag of the same line and be in a place where the mind and the hand are so free.
This is a powerful new direction for Sager and a wonderful challenge for viewers: to connect one branding style to another, to discover commonalities and evolution.
Those familiar with Sager’s largest body of work will appreciate how Ross conjures up a similar spirit and then pulls it into a third dimension. the Kansas City native works mainly with ceramics and mixed media; many of his sculptures in the exhibit are named after specific places in the lower Midwest.
“Structures that are being built, demolished, or have suffered massive destruction grab my attention and arouse my curiosity,” Ross notes on his website.
In several pieces, the structure and the earth are one, the eventual inevitability being a function of erosion, ruin or simple age. The barns threaten to fall into the rubble; the grain of the wooden planks is on the way to shattering; the ground around a building begins to lose its shape.
Ross’s work is a beautiful testimony to impermanence, emphasizing the importance of witnessing simple graces as time permits. The moving craftsmanship of its pieces draws viewers in, sparking greater recognition of what is and what will not be for long.
Lindsay Gwinn Parker
Parker, originally from New England, is concerned with “transmitting the experience of passing time and the effect it has on people and their environment; the obvious impermanence of everything we so often choose to ignore ” as its website notes.
Here, working in acrylics means creating portraits that blur the facial features of the subjects in degrees of abstraction. This new vagueness, depending on how you read it, is either absurd or deeply sobering. The plays play just enough to strip these people of their superficial attributes.
Parker never sacrifices his dedication to color for these intentions. Instead, they conscientiously serve his designs. Blues and greens surround and console his subjects; pop pinks and yellows, dynamic delivery.
“When I paint, I often focus more on the saturation or contrast of colors, rather than on specific traits of identifiable shapes and places,” Parker notes on his site. “I’m mostly inspired by scenes and subjects that are in a general state of flux or transition; dawn, dusk, passing storms or moving people. “
Viewers will feel detached from these subjects, sliding between moments and, perhaps, recognizing the real substance that remains.
Archival pigment prints Phillips creates attraction like magnets, drawing viewers into their disorienting geometry. Phillips’ images read like lopsided Rothkos or stills from 1970s arthouse cinema – cavernous color combinations work on top of each other. But the colors will not be left to their own devices; the plane of the image tilts just enough to dislocate the viewer.
Phillips, a resident of Florida to Pennsylvania, skillfully blends technological processes and artistic results. On Phillips’ website, he describes writing algorithms and “custom computer programs that generate and archive their own works of art in databases.”
“Using the technology in this way allows him unlimited experimentation without the physical limitations of storing large volumes of work,” notes his site.
Viewers are reaping the rewards of Phillips’ ingenuity, immersing themselves in color and accommodating elements such as rhythm, organization, and symmetry – or the lack thereof.
The exhibition will be on view until June 26. Make an appointment or view it virtually on https://sagerbraudisgallery.com/.
Aarik Danielsen is the News and Culture Editor for the Tribune. Contact him at [email protected] or by calling 573-815-1731.