March, 29, 2002
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Visual Arts: It’s Up to you, New York, New York
By Jerry Cullum
Every year, more Atlanta artists move to New York. This is simply a fact, unlikely to change so long as New York remains the capital of the American art world. So it makes sense for curator Marianna Lambert to offer this baker’s dozen of Atlanta émigrés, some of whom left only recently, others whom moved a quarter-century ago.
Interestingly, these artists have remained independent of New York’s most fashionable currents. (A seeming exception, Allison Shockley’s new abstract paintings, owes as much to California and Europe as to New York.) Apart from John Hardy and Patti Hansen’s realist paintings of New York architecture, there is little to identify these artists’ geographic location.
Indeed, Beth Bogla’s work could easily seem to reflect the country rather than the city, though “Yellow Circle on Black” reveals the abstract underpinnings of her brilliantly exact rendering of flowers in “Tansy.”
Jill Corson is the only artist whose Atlanta and New York images are juxtaposed, and it is uncertain whether there is much difference. “Earth Angel” is a color photo of an Atlanta store window, featuring romantic lushness combines with subtle wordplay. In the New York “Crosswalk Cross-section” a disconnected-looking pedestrian’s reflection in the glass is overshadowed by meticulously clad mannequins.
Robert Walden’s, “excised road map” (titled “Landscape, 2002”) is the most experimental work in the show and one of the most beautiful pieces as wall. The lacelike pattern formed by cutting out the street network of a city map is mounted in reverse. Thus, only fragmentary text from the back is visible, rather than the street names that would make obvious what this delicate filigree really is.
A comprehensive survey of ex-Atlantans would require a much bigger gallery. But this is enough to focus attention on just how many once local artists have embraced the advantages and pitfalls of the Big Apple.
©2002 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution