Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hello In There.

Derek Jarman, still from Sebastian Wrap

I stopped by Elizabeth Dee on the last day of the exhibit of Derek Jarman's early films. I'd never seen them before. I've never seen anything by Derek Jarman, in fact. I always loved the idea Jarman though. I also loved the idea of people loathing his film Blue so much that they commonly left the theatre before it finished. Simon Fisher Turner's soundtrack for Blue was where I first encountered Jarman, if at a distance. So, I was thrilled to be greeted with the sounds of SFT when I walked into the gallery on Saturday. The music is a lovely still point that augments the mood of these early films. As frenetic as the images become at times, the steady, confident beat of Jarman's heart hold it all together. He knew exactly where we were going. Utterly consuming.

Mark Barrow, Off Balance,, Acrylic on Hand-Loomed Linen

But wait. There was more. Not in the films, but in the gallery. On the way in a painting in the room behind the reception desk had caught my eye. On my way out, there it was again. Of course, I asked about it. (Always ask about it.) A subtle canvas, it almost looked like it was coming at me from behind some kind of self-contained scrim. Turns out it was the work of Mark Barrow, a new addition to the gallery's roster. On a foundation of handmade textile, angles of soft color intersect and reflect. Closer inspection revealed micro hits of a vibrant orange. It was that tension between the muted and the piercing that carried this small painting across the room to me. Hello in there. Hello.

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