November 10, 2009

Crashing through

Into the Crosscurrents, Christine Heller's 25th solo show, is a powerful return to abstract expressionism.

Before this new series, she had been working for about four years on paintings about the Iraq War, paintings that were often devastating and started leaning toward abstraction, a style she often used in the past.

The current paintings were done during "a year in which tumultuous shocks have thrown me into a new stage of life," Christine says. Those shocks included the death of her mother.

During this period she found her studio in Hudson was a sanctuary.

"I didn't feel afraid in the studio," she said. "I was trying to work from my feeling of freedom there, going where ever the paint took me. It felt like I was working up to a fever pitch and I just didn’t want to stop."

You can still see figurative traces in some of the new paintings. Look at the one above.

You can see the turmoil in her life during this period pouring out in the forceful images.

"I kept crashing through to new ground," she said.

This is Christine in one of two rooms filled with her paintings in the show that just ended at the John Davis Gallery on Warren Street in Hudson. Davis has a strong stable of artists and sculptors and shows them to advantage in his storefront gallery space that leads out to a sculpture court and then into a four-story mill building.

The painting below is one of Christine's smaller works in the show. She says that some of her next abstracts will be much larger.

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