2 George Nick, Joe’s American Bar and Grill, 2008, oil on linen, 50 x 40" 3 Paul Rahilly, Still Life with Bread and Water, 1993, oil on canvas, 18 x 22"
symphony in the key of white. Gail and Ernst von Metszch are not wedded to a particular period of their artists’ work nor are they averse to their artists changing directions. Ernst says, “We try to follow it, but our heart essentially is into the art you can relate to—if it’s interesting to us.” Gail explains, “It’s fascinating to see the artists evolve. I like watching them grow—that’s particularly interesting to me. I think once we support an artist we get some understanding of what they’re doing and what they’re accomplishing we want to continue that.” Eric Aho comfortably straddles representation and abstraction. Ernst writes, “I don’t remember how we discovered his work, but what immediately attracted me was his ability to paint clouds in a believable way. Clouds are abstract forms. They reflect the light around them in a variety of ways, depending on the time of day and the character of the land or sea surfaces below them. It appears rather straightforward to put them on canvas, as it looks like you can get them right without too much effort at drawing. The opposite is true, as it is very hard not to make them look awkward…Without being able to explain why, I think Aho is successful in moving toward abstraction because of his ability to come up with interesting skies in a representational manner.” He describes Wilderness (Summer 1903), 2008, as, for him, “the point when abstraction got the upper hand.”
AS WE S E E I T
until now, secretly coveted a painting by her husband Paul Rahilly. His large, complex scenes with figures are stunning and several are in the exhibition. It is a small painting, Still Life with Bread and Water, 1993, that caused me to break one of the commandments. The crusty, flour-covered bread begs to be split open, not sliced, to reveal the soft, warm, aromatic center. For me, Rahilly’s loaves of bread not only evoke “breadness” but they are made with a thick, luscious impasto of paint. His paintings, such as The Violinist, 1980, are often full of unexplainable “stuff,” perhaps relating to the figure, but perhaps more for the fun of arranging them and painting them. As Katherine French writes in her essay for the catalog, “Rahilly is in love with the tactility of material. Well-painted objects do not interpret the world, but rather allow us to see it through an aesthetic lens that Rahilly holds up.” Monafo revels in the arrangement of objects in her still lifes. She once dumped a pile of silver items on the floor and resolved to paint them. But she couldn’t resist the urge to do a little rearranging and then painted the grouping from several directions. One of them, Silver Cluster (North View), is in the von Metzsch collection. Open Heart, 1994, is a careful arrangement of white objects, some with blue rims. Known for her vibrant color, she has composed here a
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