Exhibition Review

Atlanta Journal-Constitution
, 2007 Review, Debra Wolfe

“New Paintings: Tania Becker” and

“Stratum: Kenn Kotara”

Tania Becker and Kenn Kotara offer enticing approaches to abstraction, layering and underlying geometries.

Becker presents vivid reflections of Earth inspired by images taken from space. The simplicity of a single circular form and stunning use of color and energy achieved through layering and brushwork make her mixed-media paintings fiery and beautiful.

Building her surfaces with sculpted bits of tinfoil, salt and acrylic, Becker achieves a textured and luminous effect. She uses a selective palette of brilliant blues and touches of green and golden-yellows, washed and dripped through foreground and background.

Each painting offers a variation of planetary happenings. In “Running of the Map,” the circular form is broken, gaseous and swirling. Cool blues are singed with flecks of burning orange. “Salt of the Earth” is a seductive circle of watery blue, with a lick of flame that moves through its middle.”Tectonic Collision” grounds its highly active planes with a horizontal band of minutely patterned black, like a lunar surface from which we glance up.

Three small paintings on paper hang in a horizontal grouping, each suggesting an explosion of creation or earthly terrain. Filled with cobalt, cerulean and sapphire tones, these are delicate gems in a body of work that is wholly pleasurable.

Kotara’s collection of paintings, drawings and sculptures expresses his fascination with circular motifs, architectural marks and layering. Spirals tumble like a tangle of curls across two large canvases. Grid lines and coils fill a dozen pastel and pencil drawings on paper, installed cleverly in a grid on a single wall. Executed in restrained oranges, yellows, soft greens and blue, Kotara’s palette is similar to Becker’s but more contained. Entanglement and clarity coexist in his space.

Kotara’s hanging sculptures are a natural progression to three-dimensional work. Fiberglass screening is cut to varying lengths. Each piece is painted in a vertical scrolling design. These
meshlike panels are arranged into pleasing sets and assembled with plexiglass and common hardware.

“Autoportrait” consists of seven such panels. In a metaphor for human complexity, it moves from a densely designed center strip to simpler forms in the outer panels. “Moon Cloud Blankets” experiments with panels of graduated lengths, an effect resembling visual chimes. “To Tame the Ocean at Its Source” adds fluid, stencil-like cutouts on every panel. Each sculpture spins gently with the slightest passage of air. Patterns shift and ripple.
If Becker captures the uncontrollable forces of nature, Kotara offers a serene counterbalance, conceptual and cerebral. This pairing makes for a show that is smart, sensual and satisfying