Wednesday, June 25, 2014

, R. Pela Contemporary Art will present Caught: New Work by Melany Terranova and Hank Keneally.

Melany Terranova's work

This piece was one among several dealing with the theme of the egg as  metaphor.  The meaning is  "mysterious," which lends the work a certain "enigmatic" appeal. Open ended questions usually do. They encourage the viewer to come to conclusions.  Questions beg for answers. There are answers here, but they require an investment of time on the viewers part to locate them.

When clear answers are not forthcoming, space is created for narratives that the viewer must create and complete.

Terranova is clearly more interested in the questions that providing pat answers, and this serves her work well.  The careful execution leaves little doubt that something is being said.  These works are not the product of someone not aware of what they are doing. They are not works that look as if arrived by accident.

In the very restrained, almost quiet, style that she has full embraced, she has found a compelling voice for herself.  Her past creations have often been centered around the idea of something and less concerned with physical properties of the things she is investigation. The works often seem to be about educating one's self and then producing disciplined work that becomes a visual record of what has been experienced and ultimately absorbed.

An act of discovery percolates through ever piece.  It becomes a connective tissue.  Another binding quality is that Terranova has embraced a consistent compositional arrangement of ideas. The visual similarity is not redundant.   It illustrates a commitment to an aesthetic.  That commitment is centered in exploration.  Developing the "idea" is what drives the work. 

Using the space available, she has wisely chosen to select pieces that work well in the space without feeling confined or incomplete.  Nothing is missing from the presentation.  One does not feel as if something should be added, or subtracted.

 The impact of minimalism can be felt here strongly.  The works are both stark and textural.  The co-mingling of these visual elements created an interesting interplay and that underscored the idea that of seeing art as a physical object.

Unlike paintings that tell descriptive narratives using figures, places and things, abstraction relies on the plastic elements of art.   Shape, form, texture become both objects and the means of communication.

Melany Terranova  
Moving between the worlds of sculpture and painting, these assemblages have the characteristics of both, but these pieces share a thread common to sculpture, becoming an object and not the representation of an image.

Melany Terranova's work tread on creative ground that minimalists use. The closest relationship these works have is to the work of Eva Hesse.  Whereas Hesses work sometimes could have rough edges and a certain raw exuberant energy, Terranova's  creation on more tranquil ground.

Hard edges and a tight arrangement of forms reads as both potent and ponderous.  The works have a seriousness that makes them contemplative and very still.

Where strong emotions and gestural elements are effective as communicators of emotion, Terranova has opted for a cooler more methodical track that reflects on ideas than they do on the expression of pure raw unrestrained.

Exhibitions like this one appear more like a whole collection rather individual works intended to be seen one at a time.  Terranova's work feels like a collected whole where every part works in conjunction with each other to create a cohesive whole.   Naturally one can consider each work on its own merits.  Each piece can stand on its own.  But when all of the works are seen together, they create an impact that is unified.   Unity is what brings the work together. 

What this new work does is successful speak to the nature of the last few decades of contemporary art, but not being so weighed down by art history that they feel like replicas of what has already been said many times over.

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