The first piece in the show hangs in the front where the gallery sponsors are usually highlighted. It was a serigraph done at Coronado Studios as part of the Serie Project. It had colorful, flat, semi-abstract flowers along the bottom with a band of greenery above them. The top half was vacant except for a couple of simplified trees. Around the bend, at the entrance of the main space were acrylic paintings on paper. The smaller one was mostly washy, looking like a watercolor. The larger one was heaviliy applicated and looked like the inked up areas of the serigraph. It were like opposites.
Along the wall were four sets of Sod. Each one was hand-dyed felt cut to look like different types of grass. One was green and well-trimmed, the next was yellow and brown (that’s why my lawn was missing a square patch!), one was bright green and hanging over the edge of the shelf and another was dark green and missing patches.
Along the back wall were three of the island pods featured in the 22 to Watch. A large blue one lacked the identifiable botanical elements of the other two. The lack of grass made the blue flowers look awkward coming out of the blue bun. On the other side of the back wall were a pair of paintings. They looked minimal like the serigraph, but the colors were subdued like the washy acrylic. These were the most exciting works. At first glance the flat areas are understood as paint. But upon closer inspection they reveal themselves to be patches of felt sewed onto the canvas. Bits of yarn act as drawn lines.
In the middle of the back wall were two large drawings hanging in front of a large swatch of yellow paint. The drawings were light graphite contours of banana peels. They spoke to the pile of hand-dyed felt banana peels on the stand in front of them and the three poked-hole drawings across the gallery. Depicting flowers, they looked like Leigh-Anne Lester’s work. In the center of the gallery with the pile of banana peels was a bouquet of blue flowers. None of the bulbs appeared to be open and looked like mushroom tops, kumquats or starfruit.
On the wall opposite the sod was a huge red flower. Next to it was a larger painting similar in composition to the other 2D works. Here, the trees projected from the surface and the flowers were three-dimensional, hanging onto the canvas.
Following is a review I thought would see publication, but didn’t.
Candace Briceno’s works at Women and Their Work are touted as colorful, whimsical landscapes re-imagining the natural world. That’s about half right.
Ms. Briceno’s paintings and drawings are well-informed explorations of what constitutes both landscape and painting. The light drawings of banana peels hung against the yellow painted wall speak of color theory and appetite control. Poked-hole drawings look dangerously like Leigh Anne Lester, and are the most distant from the regiment, as they contain no color. The paintings are the most successful. The inclusion of sculpture in the form of fabric adds texture along with color. More importantly, it allows for the questioning of society’s ability to patch-up our environmental blunders. This dialogue is lacking in the sculptural objects.
The island pods, identical to the ones included in last fall’s “22 to Watch”, converse with each other about isolation and the demise of the frontier. Unfortunately, the grass, blue flowers, big red flower and banana peels aren’t as vocal. Sure, they can throw up signs as if they are part of the Austin Craft Mafia, but they’re second tier in the gallery. These objects represent the garden well, yet fail to address landscape. I swear I didn’t touch them, but they feel like only the first steps in a sculptural investigation of the same issues that the paintings are dealing with.
For such process-oriented work, they appear Minimal. The dyeing, cutting and sewing of the plants is overshadowed by the happy, bright colors and the cuddly texture of felt. They are so cute, that they might have come from a cartoon. A different view of the world? Sure. Transcending it? Not so sure.
The paintings do a good job of staying focused. They complicate the understanding of a painted landscape, mixes mediums and throws in a question about the environment. The sculptures on the other hand are overwhelmed by the process involved. It takes alot of work to get the felt to those colors, but in the end, they are primary colors. Blue flowers, red flower, yellow bananas. The sod was working its way into better tints, but was boring due to its static square shape. The sculpture needed to be pushed to the next level and add another layer.
The sculptures weren’t as strong as they could have been , but I did enjoy their relationships across the gallery. I could see the connecting lines even if the objects were shaky on their own. GOOD
I’ll tell you ’bout what I sees.