I saw a lot of colorful paintings out and about this First Friday. So coming from that into Carla Knopp's exhibition Foodbox Portals
, I almost felt like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz
when the screen shifts from color to black and white at the end of the movie.
In this exhibition there's not a whole lot of color. There's black and white and the grayscale in-between, some dull pinks, a lot of sepia. They are all paintings of painted refrigerators, according to Knopp, but they are anything but literal depictions. There's a certain restrictiveness not only in color choices and subject matter, but in their uniform size (10" by 8").
Within these restrictions Knopp has found a certain freedom. That is, she allowed herself to go deep into her intuitive painting process within the predetermined boundaries that she chose in terms of painting size, color and subject matter. (Some poets say the same thing about finding freedom in rhymed meter.)
Let's just say that none of the refrigerators depicted here seem to be brand, spanking new, fresh out of the showroom. "Foodbox 21" depicts a refrigerator that seems to be swallowed by the wall behind it, covered with multiple layers of decayed paint. If you were to open such a refrigerator, what would you find? "Foodbox 22" resembles more a tombstone on a hill — a brown tombstone on a brown hill surrounded by a brown sky. If this one is indeed a portal, where the hell would it take you? "Foodbox 9" looks like what an abstract painting might look like if it were painted by Francis Bacon, in its brooding color choices, in its tarry accumulations of black paint. And "Foodbox 24," doesn't really look like a food box — or a portal — at all. With its pink, off-white color and a slit that verges on the vaginal, it looks more like an animal carcass on a butcher's table.
There are no answers to any of the questions raised by these paintings. But with their rich textures, their open-ended suggestiveness and their paradoxes, these food box portals nevertheless provide a passage into Knopp's painterly imagination.
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