Natalie Alper

Addison Gallery of American Art

The eight paintings that Natalie Alper showed here all begin with pencil marks—scribbled and wavy lines that pay subtle and poetic homage to Cy Twombly. These marks are then overlaid with turbulent strokes of rich acrylic paint. Black and white lines weave freely through pearlescent passages of color, creating a complex Piranesian spatial tension and illusion of depth. By combining a metallic color palette with earth tones, Alper contrasts an industrial world with a more elemental one.

The artist’s paintings connote the flow of water and, like the deluge drawings by Da Vinci that inspired them, they portray the emotional and abstract forces of nature. In Quicksilver Ways, 1988, she creates a dark crescendo of energy with a palette consisting largely of grays and blacks. A sense of cosmic order is implied through the skeletal black and white graffiti that forms a diagonal grid for the chaotic

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