Fishing the depths 

Visual Arts Review | Thru May 31

Visual Arts Review | Thru May 31
Sam Sartorius, an Indianapolis artist whose work has been included in numerous group efforts in recent years, has mounted what may be considered her first major solo exhibition. The show, Up All Night, on view at Eyeblink Studio & Gallery, includes a large number of abstract works of great emotional and aesthetic depth. Sartorius speaks volumes in a manner that is sincere and even roughly edged. Her work seems more heartfelt and is certainly less academic because of this. Below the surface Sartorius strikes a nonverbal chord with which I felt a kinship, a dreamy solitude borne from peak experiences - both of the positive and negative variety.
Work by Sam Sartorius is on exhibit at Eyeblink Studio & Gallery.
Hung carefully in poplar frames, these paintings are all manner of sizes. But Sartorius" parlor-sized paintings pack the same aesthetic punch as the wall-spanning canvases somehow, as if just as much can be said with less. These are decidedly not landscapes, but one does get the feeling of watery worlds where exotic life exists alone and without above-surface influences. The deeper one fishes, the more mysterious the lifeforms: It is, after all, a safer place in which to rest one"s consciousness. Water symbolizes the unconscious realms where the mechanics of our daily lives are perhaps orchestrated. The barrier between air and water is not easy to cross. And yet, underneath is where the secrets lie - and it"s a blessing that we are not able to see. Knowing what lies ahead can paralyze, as the sting of a jellyfish, or the shock of an eel. Sartorius seems to know this instinctively; in paintings such as "(Hiding place) short and wide," an image appears as a big green eye, a lone fish peering forth with unbidden knowledge. Sartorius" facility with paint renders this even more poignant; a swirl of olive greens set against yellow is dark but not murky. In "Swim dream, the heavy on my back," one can"t escape the aquatic references, from bubbles to a Moby-like fishform. Sartorius touches upon the larger of life"s questions, the struggles of being, the persistence in living that most of us find ourselves somehow embracing, regardless of what dark doors we find ourselves opening. Her aesthetic approach, creating depth with darker strokes that skirt the edges of a light-filled space, calls us back to the dance of light as it plays upon water. Sartorius has a gift of making colors continuous within a predetermined, almost uniform palette. Ultimately, these are visual poems in which what we see and feel is what counts. Hers is a world in which to lose oneself, willingly. Up All Night, paintings by Sam Sartorius, is on view through May 31 at Eyeblink Studio & Gallery, 1043 Virginia Ave., No. 4, 636-6363.

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