2010 Working from Both Sides
Don Soker Contemporary Art is pleased to announce Working From Both Sides: Works On Paper and Stretched Linen by Eleanor Wood from January 19 – February 27, 2010.
At first glance the small recent paintings of Eleanor Wood appear to have strong affinities with recent Minimalist art. They are distinct, however, in being acutely tactile and imaginatively openended evoking wide ranging haptic, as well as visual, associations that give the work a wistful sense of age and wear. This sense is reinforced by the fact that support and medium are so thoroughly and skillfully fused that it is all but impossible to distinguish them. The works are made in series and typically exhibited in groups. The current exhibit includes works from Limits and Crossings (mixed media on linen), and Boundaries, Edges, Parallels, which are works on paper. Earlier titles reflect the artist's preoccupation with boundaries and divisions.
The title Working From Both Sides refers to both method and geography in the work of Eleanor Wood. In the stretched linen works, the physicality of the small box-like stretchers is reinforced by wax lines, or sometimes thread, which cross the surface and go around the edge towards the wall on which they hang. The materials used are very particular: oil bar, wax, thread, and Belgian linen stretched over, surprisingly deep stretchers, considering the modest scale of the works. The earth-like color of the linen itself varies reminding us that the cloth is made from flax.
In her works on paper color is applied in a highly diluted form in superimposed layers, each being allowed to dry before being overlaid by another. The color is painted onto the back of the paper and, because of the highly absorbent nature of the particular paper used, it soaks through to appear on the front, forming a soft and blurred edge around the central geometric form. The relationship between the back and the front of the work is further established by pinpricks, which are used in addition to pencil marks, to demarcate and to divide.
While most of these works were made in California, some were created in England and others begun there and completed in the US. Time spent away from incomplete works, stimulates a decisiveness determining their conclusions. It is in this sense that works are made on Both Sides of the Atlantic.
Eleanor Wood was born and grew up in London. For many years she was based in Norfolk near the east coast of England. Here she was surrounded by expanses of arable fields, huge skies, and the vast open beaches that edge the North Sea. Both this particular landscape and the Californian light have had an impact. In 2002 she moved to Central California and now divides her time between there and Norfolk. She has exhibited in Britain, The Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Russia, Latvia, Australia, and the United States, and her works are found in the collections of Arts Council England, The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Achenbach Foundation for the Graphic Arts, The Crocker Museum, Sacramento, The Progressive Arts Collection and the University of the Arts, London.