Best Gallery Exhibition

Erik Spehn: Six Whites/Three Reds

This solo exhibition by local artist Erik Spehn featured a suite of large-scale paintings deploying his signature abstractions of obsessively woven textures, but with new strains of scarlet and underpaintings of golden maize. The added color infuses depth and a kind of emotional narrative to work otherwise intent on the study of restrained, process-oriented subtlety. Thin strands of cut canvas, or lines of paint pooled between taped-off guidelines, created textile-like surfaces, tight gridworks of the most delicate pigment. But the grid would veer off asymmetrically, almost at the will of a strain of deep color. Or it would breathe with suffused light — in hues of yellow — off-setting the reticent procedural framework of the repetitive marks. As a whole, the exhibit had the impact of a musical piece, in which the intricate motifs, perhaps those most identifiable with the musician, cut loose sounds revelatory to his own ear and, as such, seem to herald a new stage of mature and virtuosic expertise.

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