Lynne Woods Turner’s quiet wonders


Lynne Woods Turner, Untitled (589) 2006. pencil and colored pencil on paper. 11 x 11″

In her third solo show with Gallery Joe, Portland, OR artist Lynne Woods Turner continues her delicate, precise exercise in pattern-making. Turner’s delicate whispery works require you to slow down and look close. The payoff comes in discovering the playful interaction between line and paper. In a way that’s similar to Laylah Ali’s, Turner makes great use of negative space. Her works in many cases are about the sharing of positive (line) with negative (blank paper).

There is a pulsing energy in these works, some of which suggest the optical test in which a vase snaps in and out of focus as your eye shifts between what’s drawn and what’s “invisible” on the page. In other cases, optics are not suggested at all, but memory is at issue. Lines repeat in parallel rows that fade away at the top into some suggestion of nothingness or oneness with the air.

Rosette pattern, detail. Image from Greg Kucera Gallery. Click to see it.
Rosette pattern, detail. Image from Greg Kucera Gallery. Click to see it.

Turner’s sensibility is female. Where other makers of such minimally-drawn works might use straight lines and hard corners in their pattern making. Turner’s works avail themselves of more homey means. Scalloped edges evoke the natural world as distilled through a particular homespun sensibility. Rosettes in clusters likewise are flower-like, lacey and, in Turner’s hand, a little psychedelic, their concentric circles leading you into inner vortices of thought.

The drawings to me suggest companionship. Her rosette piece has two identical rosette clusters hovering in each other’s atmosphere like twins or perhaps lovers. Peace, harmony and the ability to respect without trampling the other’s space is all suggested. Occasionally her twin or almost-twin objects touch, with a quiet kiss of interwoven pencil line holding them together.

Lynne Woods Turner
Lynne Woods Turner. Untitled (569). 2006 pencil on paper. 10 5/8 x 8 5/8″

This is the first time Turner has shown preparatory drawings along with her finished works. (there’s a group of them in the Vault); While I enjoy the completed drawings I found the prep drawings more exhilarating. These working drawings are the artist working like an acrobat without a net — more lines, a greater playfulness, and a manic energy. If the finished drawings are a walk on the quiet side of life, the working drawings are the roller coaster ride. The gallery produced its first show catalog with this exhibit. It’s a great little book with an essay by Susan Rosenberg, formerly at the PMA and the Seattle Museum of Art and now heading for a teaching job at St. John’s University in New York.

“Drawings” through April 28, 2007. Gallery Joe. 3rd and Arch St. Regular gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday 12 – 5:30, other days by appointment. 215.592.7752.


gallery joe, lynne woods turner



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