The Rocky Shore, detail (1996),
acrylic on shaped linen
SHERRY GRAUER is an important Canadian artist who has exhibited with the Bau-Xi Gallery since 1965. She works on the borderline between paintings and sculpture, "passing through relief both ways", as she puts it. Her new canvas reliefs take advantage of the best properties of each to convey a sense of scale, drama and presence.
Beginning with large, flat sheets of canvas, Grauer shaped these paintings as topographies resembling the shoreline patterns of West Coast beaches. Iridescent pigments and modelled tonal contrasts imply a rush of movement and direction. The material three-dimensionality is further emphasized or diminished as Grauer plays off simulations of light and shadow with the actual ambient lighting in the gallery.
The six-feet acrylic canvases, with their bold and uneasy colours, move from stylized seascapes to glittering cropped abstracts. The "paths" she makes, like tidal ripples imprinted in the sand, are not meant to be followed visually or physically: they are shimmering, gestalted fields of broken line that imitate sunlight on waves, or splashes of water frozen at the moment of their greatest extension between fixed shapes.
© Mia Johnson