by Mark Jenkins, Washington Post
Fabric scraps and damaged tissue paper are the essential ingredients of new work now at Morton Fine Art. Those materials might sound negligible, but Amber Robles-Gordon and Maya Freelon employ them with ambition and impact.
Robles-Gordon, a D.C. native, is known for hanging strands of textiles and other found objects in intricate arrangements. The pieces in her “Third Eye Open” are wall-mounted rather than suspended, and feature circular drawing-collages orbited by smaller rounded objects, some partly covered in bits of garments. The forms suggest zygotes and planets, as well as eyes, but at the heart of each of the larger circles is a leafy motif. Whether seen as cosmic or botanical, the artist’s circling compositions exalt natural cycles.
Freelon’s technique began with what her statement calls a “beautiful accident”: finding colored tissue paper stained by water from a leaking pipe. From this discovery, the North Carolina artist developed a method of bleeding pigment from moistened colored tissue onto sheets of white paper, which are so thick they hang as if they’re fabric.
The larger works in “Rebirth/Rebound” were made with a pottery wheel, so the transferred hues spin with verve and grace. The dominant color is often magma-dark red, framed by black and green and white bubbles that evoke the images’ aquatic origins. The most direct print, “Suspension,” is mostly orange and yellow, which flow with the exuberance of a classic abstract-expressionist canvas. Freelon’s accident yields pictures that are assured and bold.
Maya Freelon: Rebirth/Rebound and Amber Robles-Gordon: Third Eye Open Through May 15 at Morton Fine Art, 1781 Florida Ave. NW. 202-628-2787. mortonfineart.com.