New York

Angela DeLaura

Touchstone Gallery

Angela DeLaura’s drawn paintings at the Touchstone Gallery also imply an order through the repetition of analogous forms. With a rapidograph pen she delineates circles and ellipses over a smooth linen surface brushed with acrylic color. By massing her units in different densities and by varying their size, she sets up vibrant rhythms which intimate nature’s growth processes. The tonal gradations produced by her technique establish a spatial pulsation parallel to the surface increasing and diminishing of form. Within this linear fabric, there are hints of cumulus clouds, cellular leaves, vaginal openings. Because DeLaura generally chooses a square format, there is a discrepancy between her depicted circular shapes and the literal shape of the painting. This discrepancy accentuates the allusionistic pictorial ism of the image, for the parts are not synonymous with the whole. The few paintings which utilize a tondo format suggest that this structure might allow for a greater unity between image and object.

Another inconsistency in DeLaura’s work is her occasional use of bright color as a background for her drawing. This strong color has a purely decorative function which is extraneous to the linear elements. In fact, by emphasizing those areas which DeLaura has not covered with circles, the color defines isolated shapes which lie on top of the otherwise linear framework. A painting like 32 Square; Grey offers a more harmonious solution for here the grey paint blends with the undulating black drawing, which is coextensive with the surface. To my mind, the most interesting aspect of DeLaura’s work is the obsessiveness of the handdrawn circles. The incessant growth and diminution of these units posit different levels of the artist’s energy. The drawing of the larger elliptical shapes indicates a rapid gesture, while the filling in of areas with tiny circles intimates a slower pace. Thus, the process of making is congruent with the organic ebb and flow of the final image; the procedure becomes one with the form.

––Susan Heinemann