Philadelphia Inquirer

October 12th, 2007
Get thee to Elkins Park
Paintings and sculptures pick up gallery’s vibe.


More time should have been allotted to “The Fluid Field: Abstraction and Reference,” which opened at Tyler School of Art’s Tyler Gallery on Oct. 3 and has barely more than a week to go. This sophisticated, unpredictable group exhibition of paintings by 10 female Tyler graduates is the kind of show that anyone interested in contemporary painting will find stimulating, while presumably also benefiting current Tyler students with a close-at-hand vision of what their futures can hold.

Tyler painting professor Dona Nelson, the show’s curator and an accomplished painter, focused on painting that presents an all-over field of color, or an aggregation of markings, or both, in which figurative elements may or may not move but in which they do not take center stage. It’s an easier theme to see than to articulate, which probably accounts for the show’s awkward afterthought of a subtitle.

Never mind. Most of the paintings gathered here are absorbing, at the very least: Angela Dufresne’s sprawling, hallucinogenic Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Delusional Birthday Party for Big Daddy (2007), in which Chinese lanterns of various colors, a dining room table, and various characters channeled from the film of the same name (I’m sure I saw Burl Ives and Elizabeth Taylor, among others, including those famously annoying “no-necked children”) float within a lurid orange-and-yellow field splattered with emerald green; Louise Fishman’s small, painterly What Is It? (1997), of a yellow bonelike shape surrounded by similar blue ones, all confronting each other in a thick, scraped field of red brown; to Rosanna Bruno’s completely abstract, late-De Kooning-esque Pick-up Sticks (2007), of transparent, overlapping vertical brushstrokes of vivid colors in a white field on a steeply vertical canvas. (The titles of many of the works here seemed strikingly well-chosen).

Ten days left; open Sundays; no excuses.

Tyler Gallery, Tyler School of Art, 7725 Penrose Ave., Elkins Park, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 1 to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. 215-782-2776 or . Through Oct. 21.