On the Same Wavelength
On the Same Wavelength presents kindred works from James Little (b. 1952), Heather Hutchison (b. 1964), Mark Leonard (b. 1954), and Doug Ohlson (1936 - 2010). Despite these artists’ disparate backgrounds, influences, and approaches to their practice, the works are connected and enhanced by a shared celebration of light, material, and vibrant color relationships.
James Little and Heather Hutchison are highly hands-on artists who take pains to manufacture their own materials and implements, allowing them a greater degree of control over their artwork. In these paintings, both have utilized beeswax to create carefully calibrated visual effects. Little is intimately concerned with his surfaces, leading to a career-long fascination with the optical possibilities of encaustic painting. In these works, the matte opacity of his cleanly taped lines reduces the reflectivity of the surface, allowing the glowing colors to take center stage. Hutchison, meanwhile, seeks to capture the gauzy natural light that suffused her upbringing on the West Coast. Light enters, resonates, and is transfigured within her birchwood boxes, which are faced with Plexiglas, coated with pigmented beeswax, and accented with vivid Flashe and enamel. The interaction of light with these materials generates unique self-contained environments that seem to be illuminated from within.
Doug Ohlson was a master of color relationships; this pair of paintings showcases his playful manipulation of color, with neat stripes of raspberry, sherbet orange, and mint green transformed by their clever placement atop brushy swatches of peach, turquoise, and slate grey. The colors seem to spring off the canvas or flatten against it depending on the surrounding hues. In a painting featuring tidy blocks of sage, lavender, and apricot, Mark Leonard plays with a similar lively palette. With a background in painting conservation, Leonard brings a rational, structured sensibility to this composition, along with an exceptional knowledge of color theory. At the same time, his minute, stippled brushstrokes keep the human element of the artist’s hand at the forefront, softening the painting with expressiveness and cheerful energy.
As these difficult circumstances keep many of us physically apart, this collection of works serves as a reminder of the shared experiences and common threads that bring us together.