Paintings have emotions, just like the people who make them. And while we can’t always know why a person feels what they do, or even exactly what they’re feeling, we can look long and hard at artwork and allow ourselves to acknowledge the sentiments expressed therein. Here are the sensitivities I see in three oil paintings by Beth McCormick: a Cézanne-esque landscape, all cloudy blue skies, distant mountain, green fields and fall foliage, features heavy black outlines that trouble what would otherwise be picturesque. A bursting abstraction, baby blue to umber center surrounded by ochre and red parallelograms, shatters and bleeds, like a crashed automobile. An ashen specter haunts a foggy ocher, mustard and pea composition, tracing colorless tracks through the mist. Notably, all three canvases drip, their paint so thin in places that it runs, an aspect of painting familiar since Pollock used it to convey unstoppable verve—but which here drips like tears, as if McCormick’s paintings were crying. These might be the sentiments of the artist or they might not; all art has a life of its own.
—Lori Waxman 2019-05-02 5:29 PM