Dot by Dot
Recent Work by Bob Oppenheim
April 30 - June 1
Reception: May 1st, 5-7pm
Simmons College presents Dot by Dot-Recent Work by Bob Oppenheim, from April 30 - June 1 at the Trustman Art Gallery, located on the fourth floor in the Main College Building, 300 The Fenway, in Boston. A reception from 5-7.p.m. will be held on Tuesday, May 1. The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.
Bob Oppenheim’s abstract, mostly square canvases of color, thread, and the ubiquitous dot, seem to contain infinite possibilities for poetic fancy. Dark masses of color ground suggest deep space or alternatively become a drenched field of delicious color. The dots look good enough to eat, if you are six, and yet dance like a crazed musical scale in jazzy cacophony across the canvas, pinning the thread to the work. The thread draws us in, it dangles from edges, it is sewn with a bobbin too loose to make tight stiches creating traffic jams of thread, knotting up intersections as it encourages us to take a chance and follow its line. The work can be literally repaired by the thread, sewing canvas sections together or patching the work in layers.
Although intimate in scale, the work vigorously arouses our attention to larger and smaller systems. We are reminded of the night sky, crystal growths, expanding colonies of organic matter, the meandering of our dreams. Oppenheim says, “I draw with thread; I draw with paint - without making a distinction between drawing and painting. This fluidity is part of an erosion of boundaries in my work, which I also observe to be widespread in the visual and performing arts as well as elements of popular craft.”
Time Traveler, 2011, 12x12 inches, serves as an exemplar. Although the overall canvas is square, on the left side, a messy sewn vertical of pale threads connects the left third to the right two thirds punctuating the intense blue ground. This zipper of thread flouts the borders of the square at the bottom of the work; dangling ends are abandoned, and loosened from their function of repair. The upright suggests a taproot with meandering single thread lines creating questing lateral roots. These single threads are attached playfully with dots of acrylic paint in red, yellow, ivory, and a zingy aquamarine, setting up a vibrant visual dissonance.
The Trustman Art Gallery Lunchtime Lecture series continues on May 2 at noon in the Gallery with Professor Emeritus Len Soltzberg of the Simmons College Chemistry and Physics Department. In his talk, "A Search for Pattern - Crystallography at Simmons College" Soltzberg will discuss how the shapes of crystals arise under various conditions. The lecture is free and open to the public.
Trustman Gallery hours are 10 a.m.- 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Closed: May 18, 28. The gallery is free, open to the public, and wheelchair accessible. For more information, contact Marcia Lomedico at 617-521-2268.