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On View: ‘What We Inherit: Remnants of Light and Space’

January 20, 2019

Surreal settings and moods are featured in “What We Inherit: Remnants of Light and Space” by Angelica Contreras and Ellen Reynolds Hall. Their exhibit can be viewed in Gallery I at the Overture Center for the Arts, 201 State St., until March 3.

Born in California, Contreras lived most of her life in the city of Guadalajara, Mexico, before coming to Madison. She was surrounded by an oriental aesthetic from an early age, and her work is influenced by imagery from many cultures, as well as a love for pop culture.

Using paint and rich collaged patterns, Contreras creates figures in their own unique environment. The figures range from children to Geisha to sumo wrestlers, from animals to monsters. She brings them out of their natural environs into surreal surroundings, with colors and shapes that remind us of childhood.

“The work originates from the yearning of childhood and innocence where nature shows it’s charming side as well as it’s cruelty, all topped with a spoonful of sugar to make it all better,” Contreras said in her artist’s statement.

Hall’s abstract oil paintings explore color, light, form, energy, and emotion. She finds the manner in which illumination and shadow reveal and hide form – moods changing literally with the wind – fascinating. Her paintings capture a quality of fragility that exists in nature and our relationship to each other and to other species. For her, art is, in part, about furthering our conscious connection.

“The painter Giorgio Morandi said, ‘I believe that nothing can be more abstract, more unreal, than what we actually see,’” Hall said in her artist’s statement. “I want to explore that moment before we identify what we are seeing. I wish to ride the line between figurative and abstract and would like the narrative of the painting to be read differently by each viewer.”

— Robyn Norton

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