Visual arts review | Thru October Petra Nyendick, originally from Toronto and now living in Indianapolis, could be viewed as a bold choice for 4 Star Gallery. The artist is relatively unknown here, and her work is not easily categorized. But while Nyendick"s work has a welcome, quirky edge as well as a symbolic depth, there"s a clunky aspect to some of the larger pieces that sometimes distracts.
The exhibit of paintings by Petra Nyendick has been extended at 4 Star Gallery.
Nyendick frequently employs the mandala image, a symbol of both the cosmos and the unification of the self, in her larger-format, mixed media paintings. In these, she affixes organic materials to the canvas in large swaths of space next to solid blocks of color. The raised, resin-like material provides contrast to the earthiness of straw and pebbles, as if the artist is juxtaposing natural and manmade materials with spiritual ideas. This sort of visual boldness sometimes works, and sometimes doesn"t. "Charles" Rock" has interesting elements, but they feel out of balance somehow, or the scale is slightly too large. On the other hand, "Nautilus" possesses enough subtlety to give the viewer needed distance for contemplation. Here, the artist"s painterly talent and figurative abilities emerge. Likewise, the more quiet abstractions such as "Pods" and "Orbs" are evidence of the artist"s subtler talents and depth. "Eastern Sphere" is, perhaps, the freshest of the lot: There is no garishness here, just a lovely, vertical cascade of leaves reaching upwards, like hands cupping the heavens. Overall, the pieces that don"t rely on visual volume work best; these are where the artist"s sincerity achieves a laudable frequency. Scapes, paintings by Petra Nyendick, has been extended through the month of October at 4 Star Gallery, 653-9 Massachusetts Ave., 686-6382.