Critics’ Picks

apparition, 2006.


Mary Weatherford

Shane Campbell Gallery | South Loop
2021 S. Wabash Ave.
May 13 - July 1

The three midsize canvases in this Los Angeles–based artist’s exhibition, each a slightly different view of the same rocky outcrop, would be of little interest were they not so well executed; instead, they argue convincingly for the value of painting directly from life. Each skillfully fuses two currently unfashionable artistic traditions: Look at them from a few feet away, and the compositions are reminiscent of the kind of by-the-sea plein air painting that Courbet and Monet practiced in Normandy circa 1870; zoom in on almost any part of a canvas, and your field of vision is filled with a harmonious, semiabstract chromatic reverie that evokes early-twentieth-century practitioners on both sides of the Atlantic, from Sonia Delaunay and Franz Marc to Georgia O’Keeffe and Joseph Stella. Rendered in flashe, a vinyl-based paint that doesn’t lose the intensity of its color when diluted with water (as Weatherford has done here), these works register changes in sunlight upon the rock formation by altering the composition’s dominant hue: apparition, 2006, is reddish pink; after Hodler, 2006, is reddish orange; shadow, 2005, is bluish green. These colors have been applied with diaphanous, mostly vertical, soft-edged brushstrokes, and the shimmering effect grants the hulking mass dreamlike airiness and grace.