Ocean Exhibit @ Beyond The Lines Gallery

January 7, 2017

There is some form of the sacred captured uniquely in an oceanic scenery. At the edge of the landed world, where there is nothing but a blue horizon yonder, where blue heaven and blue sky become uniform, one can have a mystical experience were it such a privileged resort. For those coastal residents who were weaned on such majesty, it is very easy to take for granted a natural wonder which, unlike other forms of geographical splendor, is always in constant and churning motion. Perhaps this eternal sensation of infinite recirculation provides the forward note for serenity upon meditating on its blue?


In any case, this opening specialized with an emphasis on artists more than intrigued but titillated into admixing their very creative spirit with the aforementioned wonder. While there were of course stock and flow meager renditions of reality, of painting what is real, the greater talent in the exhibition was able to more symbolically impress a meaning of the ocean and its very being onto human existence.


If this seems hyperbolic, it isn’t – this is the true goal of the upper echelon of art: to bring into the phenomenal experience of a human subject an inconceivable, previously imperceptible tangent or, at the very least, a newfound ideal of what can be the possible reality. And most triumphantly, the artist Pascaline Doucin-Dahlke does so with her work Waves. It, in all sincerity, could be looked over if one were to walk by. Certainly if it had some grandeur on a larger composition it would be more immediately breath-taking. But this minor weakness merely means one must make a more concerted effort to appreciate its beauty and grace. It is minimalist without obscuring the reality it is trying to represent too expediently; we are not left scratching our head as to how the shapes made synchronously onto the canvas somehow relate or refer to the ocean and its constant ending at the seashore. Where the minimalism is, however, is in its elegance in deconstructing very geometrically the components of that human perception which actually inspired her to concoct this blue chemistry all from her own imagination.


Where we can say a Rothko or a Clyfford Stills focused their attention solely on the geometrical sufficiency of a visual artwork, Ms. Doucin-Dahlke takes their epistemic investigations and puts them to good, arguably more ideal, use. For again, she is not simply meditating on the redness of red or the squareness of a square. She is taking the bare necessities of what the human mind can interpolate to be and combine them in a novel manner to give us a newfound sensation of a fairly mundane reality – that of an ocean wave. It is in elevating the mundane which makes her work triumphant and a sincere accomplishment of artistry. This is further evidenced by the fact that her work can stand alone, independent of any sort of oceanic theme, to give us a sense of the transcendent.


We additionally have another good work from another artist by the name of Preston M. Smith (@pmsartwork) titled When the Levee Breaks. Such near-mosaic enchantment, with well-placed lights intentionally placed to have the paint glisten prismatically, is married to such an ironically catastrophic title. All that can be said here is perhaps the artist is asserting that, with a large enough vantage point, human tragedy is very contextualized. Beauty is independent, in other words, of the human condition. The tragic water churns of a levee breaking is simply a failure of humanity, not of nature. The very integrity of the water is still pristine and unblemished; its value exists outside of human utility.


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