It can be worthwhile to consider what a painting needs. Lights? Multiple dimensions? Dancers, poets? Synapse, created by Bert Leveille in a seven-foot-square vault at the Old Courthouse Arts Center in Woodstock, IL, requires all this and then some. Installed for the last two months of 2020, also the final months of the venue’s thirty-year existence, “synapse” uses three large silvery canvases, one suspended fabric-and-wire object, and a trio of changing-color LED floor lights to bring the imagery of Leveille’s earlier paintings to life. The result resembles a dancer rendered in Japanese calligraphy, spinning slowly in a moody abstract landscape. Overlaid across this scene are related textual fragments — including the tenderhearted inside is not so dark / when you shine / a light. stop. — not unlike how the owners of Japanese scrolls would fill the white space around a waterfall or a gourd with lines of poetry. The words, a collaboration with the Atrocious Poets (Annie Hex and Jen May), appear suspended in the vault’s doorway, through the magical intermediary of a sheet of hung Plexiglas.
—Lori Waxman 2021-01-19 10:55 AM