Material girls at ArtJaz

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India Cruse Griffin
by India Cruse-Griffin

In “Heart and Mind,” a group show of work by four women at ArtJaz Gallery, each of the artists is making a statement about the material she is using.

The collage/paintings by India Cruse-Griffin stood out as complex, thoughtful works of art in which the material and the content have a meeting of the minds. Griffin uses the surface patterns and textures of her bits of paper to unusual effect.

India Cruse Griffin
by India Cruse-Griffin

The images are memories–compositions of a perfect past, with white picket fences and verdant lawns and young girls jumping while older girls stay waiting in prom gowns, spread across space like flowers. The faces of the jumping girls are impassive, even though their bodies express joyousness. The belles of the ball on the front lawn also aren’t smiling. There’s a thread of white that snakes through this latter piece is more than just a trick of composition, tying together near and far; it suggests the reconstruction of a torn photograph, and the path from one girl to the next.

India Cruse Griffin
detail

Although the works are largely collage, they also contain passages of paint. The serious faces are painted elements. But the mixed materials remain unified.

The sense of space shimmers, sometimes veering into fractured, cubist space, sometimes into veiled distances and shifting atmospheres. The colors, the shafts of light and dark, are sharp and controlled and surprising. The details of the collage materials at once create these areas and form a counterpoint to them.

At the same time, the work communicates the artists love for her subjects–family and friends, and I would guess memories of herself as a child and young woman. Cruse-Griffin comes from Richmond, Indiana, and there’s a sense of a safe, wonderful world that pervades this work. The tone is straight out of Our Town.

Felicia Grant Preston
by Felicia Grant Preston

Others in the show are Philadelphia artist Anyta Thomas, who sculpts wire mesh figures; Chicago painter Felicia Grant Preston, who makes heavily textured abstract paintings in ebulliant, hot colors; and Cynthelia Cephas, whose music-inspired quilts have shown before at ArtJaz.

Tags

artjaz gallery, felicia grant preston, india cruse-griffin

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