s k y p o w e r
Power show adds spark to spring season
By Andre van der Wende
As an antidote to the gloom of recent spring days, one could do worse than to visit the intimate gathering of recent paintings by North Truro artist Sky Power, showing through June 10 at the Truro Council On Aging Gallery, 19 Town Hall Road.
A native of Texas, Power, after being an itinerant Cape resident for several years that included extended sojourns in Washington and California, has been par of the Provincetown artistic community for three years now and is currently represented by the Provincetown Group Gallery.
Power's COA show includes 11 paintings that display a range of formats and media—paper, canvas, Masonite, oil, acrylic, crayons, graphite. All share a distinctive sense of free0flowing line and color and freely traverse the boundaries between abstraction, figurative, landscape, still life, and self-portraiture. Within a predominantly primary palette, buttery and lemon yellows hand over open fields of white that contain an expansive filigree of graphite lines, part chicken scratch, part test, and part topography. Beyond the attractive surfaces, however, lies a subtext of intent.
"People have to have a sense of where I come from," the 47-year-old artist says. "Emotionally, more than anything else, that's what I'm wanting. As I'm painting, things come out that I'm not planning to [have] come out." Often, she says, the painting will dictate its own forms, but they are born of an emotional response, a personal event or encounter, and its subsequent visual equivalent. Often that impetus is music.
"Visually I am interested in creating an emotional aesthetic comparable to experiencing music aurally," Power says, a remark that reflects her love for jazz and her vocation as a professional piano tuner. Power also regales in themes that range from the celebration of nature and personal growth, creative and spiritual, to ones of transience, impermanence and mortality.
In "Please forgive me," the outline of a hand in an upper comer portends to both reach for and hold the sky, while above it, sketched in heavy graphite, are the topographic lines of an almost Medici like landscape of rolling contours. The artist refers to these as "dreamscapes," fragments of memory and time, of the subconscious rather than the cognitive world. In another, "Fornix," the largest painting in this group, her stylized bands of graphite arch out across open expanses of white that allude to the organic free-forms of Arshile Gorky and Helen Frankenthaler.
Power's most recent abstractions are marked by an increasing freshness. "Striving
to be open, back to the origins and purity of a child," she says.
Whatever their motivation, informed perhaps by a new willingness to defer
to the delights of chance, the line is more open and lyrical, the color
more sensual, hinting at the cadences of some of Kandinsky's best landscapes
and abstractions. She also proves herself to be adept in other areas
too, particularly in a beautifully deft figure study on display here
that belies her masterly response to form, line and color into a cohesive
aesthetic whole. Whether it's the expansive scorch of a Texas summer,
or the egregious nature of a New England Spring, one gets the sense that
Power's seductive paintings would serve any season well.