7/11/09 11:46 AM
The term “abstract,” applied to painting, does not always mean something quite as “abstract” as it is taken to be. Abstract originally meant “abstracted from,” as in abstracted from life. So an abstraction of a bottle of wine and a newspaper begins with those very real objects and ends up somewhere else. Such is the case with much of Rachelle King’s work, although the stylistic idioms she employs run the gamut from expressionistic renderings of architectural sites, as the German artist-architects of the 1920s, like Bruno Taut, were wont to do, to essentializing imagery of the kind popular among seventies feminists like Judy Chicago—and everything in between. King’s “Hollywood Bowl,” impressionistically dabbed out in hot oranges, greens, purples and yellows, fits squarely in the first mode; her “Feminine Mystique,” all curves and earth tones, epitomizes the second. “Leather I,” a textured play of browns and ochres in a soft geometric grid, lands somewhere experimental in the middle. None of this adds up to a practice of stylistic consistency, but rather one that reveals a commitment to observation and painting, and a pleasure attained through both.