Tricia Rose Burt:
Be Fruitful and Multiply
Art New England, Dec/Jan 2009
Redmond Bennett Gallery
Dublin, New Hampshire
November 20, 2008 - December 21, 2008
By Craig Stockwell
How do we recognize it when something is of our moment, when a work of art is essentially current? How can there be recognition, when a critical element in looking new is a sense of the unfamiliar? Or, perhaps, a look of the current is really just a growing awareness that there is a familiarity appearing in work that was only peripherally perceived months before, and the look that we recognize is forming a sense of our time. These are questions raised by the very simple and often quite empty pencil drawings of Tricia Rose Burt. There are some identifiable aspects of this work that place these drawings into the present: they are very clean, they are flat and non-heirarchical, they are cellular, they are obsessive and beautifully crafted, there is emptiness and inattention to composition, there is an apparent rootedness in conceptualism and the serial (with the current requisite back-story and the post-minimalist nod to the sensual). The question of the back-story is important here.
These are beautiful drawings, they intrigue with the five layers of shaded values worked in organic rings. The cells meander across the page and drift over edges. When drawings are hung in groups an entire additional set of relationships begins to emerge. The emptiness of so much unused paper is exciting. The back story is that the rings are made from outlines of the bases of small ceramic “Noah’s Ark” figurines that come with Red Rose Tea. The first ring in each cell is the outline and the other four rings develop organically and improvisationaly. Noah’s Ark, cells, the title of the show (Be Fruitful and Multiply)…there’s a story here and it’s difficult to say whether too much has been told already, or, in the spirit of fruitfulness, an entire flood of images and reference might bring home, more successfully, the abundant associations that the theme suggests. This is a question that many older artists, with minimalist sensibilities, face in the current art conversation.
Redmond/Bennett Gallery is new to the area (two years old) and appears to have an ambitious schedule of exhibits and a spare and elegant space to show the work in. They face the challenge of being an ambitious urban type gallery trying to make it in a developing but rural area of New England, a challenge many of our best galleries outside of Boston must work with.