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The shard-like forms in Albert Roskam’s 4 vanishing points in a square #3 appear to float in space, but this illusion results from the laser-cut aluminum support he employs. In a related drawing, a strictly linear format creates an illusion of a deeper space with intersecting trapezoidal planes. José Heerkens also uses line to suggest space, but she depends on color to create movement. Her watercolor Travelin’ Light places several horizontal bands of color across an expanse of negative space to create the illusion of a modulated surface. Ruth van Veenen utilizes similar components—ordered bars of color—but her forms are more tightly compressed, interweaving horizontal and vertical elements and leaving little negative space. Gracia Khouw often works with letterforms, paying special attention to the in-between spaces of letters. In Closed Circuit series / CC# (yellow/black) five G letterforms are linked in a circle to enclose these spaces, which become graphically arresting visual elements in and of themselves. The overall repeated pattern of seemingly abstract shapes initially obscures the individual letterforms, which come into focus with a look of longer duration. For Joanne Mattera and Nancy White the relationship between negative and positive space is elusive and harder to determine. In their predominantly monochromatic works in this show, the shift of forms is subtly masterful. The triangles in Mattera’s Chromatic Geometry 21 waver and coalesce into diamonds that float in a chromatically divided field. The space in White’s paintings is murkier—perhaps even mysterious— and her forms are harder to pin down. She works at an intimate scale that requires close looking and contemplation; with adequate time the viewer may begin to detect shifts of color and movement of the shapes. Slow looking is also necessary to fully appreciate Don Voisine’s paintings. Usually consisting of centered black planes bordered on the top and bottom by bands of color, his forms waver between negative and positive spaces, never fully resolving as one or the other. Seen from varied angles the surfaces of the black planes vary between matte and glossy in finish. Voisine uses this subtle shift as a way to activate the space of the painting. Voisine has also contributed a wall sculpture, plus/minus, to the exhibition. A marble carving of a plus sign, this work is symmetrically divided, with half of the composition comprising forms that protrude and the other half containing voids. It is tempting to interpret this work—with its visual references to absence and presence, solidity and void—as a statement about the nature of negative and positive space.

above: Don Voisine, plus/minus, 2003

Doppler Shift  
Doppler Shift  

Twenty seven artists from the US and Europe use geometry and color to explore the illusion of difference between two- and three-dimensional...