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Two Artists Create a Sense of Space at Harwood

By Jeffrey Lee

July 21, 1997:  The spirit of place, and how two artists of very different sensibilities connect with it, is at the heart of Locus, a dual exhibit at the Harwood Art Center. Sculptor Dee Holman and painter/graphic artist Ann Lacy present work that documents each artist's portrait of her chosen locus, and the results are alternately weighty and lyrical, tough and serene.

The operative elements are earth and water. Holman's Bojes, a rigorously thematic collection of assemblages and "nonfunctional objects," draws its imagery from the work of the land, specifically in the Spanish farming village where the artist lived for a year. Every piece of Bojes refers to every other. The narrow range of Holman's material vocabulary is deliberate, employing grain sacks, cart wheels, sawdust and rubber gloves in surprising variations. Gloves appear in repetition after repetition. But whether strung like animal parts in a butcher shop or lined up like teeth on a plow, they are as much the artist's hands as the farmer's. Indeed, for all its earthy rhetoric, Bojes is almost more of a self-portrait than a portrait of a place or culture.

By contrast, Ann Lacy seems to lose herself entirely, as if in a mediation, in the river imagery of her Arroyo Chamisa. Her highly inventive media are perfectly chosen to suit the subject. Lacy's large drawings in pencil and acrylic, busily worked out in muddy browns and beiges, seem to churn up like an agitated riverbed. But her solar graphics--the results of objects placed on blueprint that is then processed to bring their shapes out as luminous, inky-blue silhouettes--are as delicate as flotsam carried along a river's surface. Although they look like abstractions or ideograms (a calligraphic influence is in evidence), they are representations of an intense purity. They're a powerful example of an artist's devotion to what can be found and celebrated in a world outside the self.

--Jeffrey Lee

Locus runs through July 30 at 1114 7th NW. Call 242-6367.

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