Water and light are fundamental to our existence. An attempt to capture such meaning in art runs the pedestrian risk of being cliché. Stepping outside the literal illustration, the current exhibit at the Michael Phipps Gallery, Shimmer, and “challenges the conventional physical appearance of these recognizable components of our earth’s atmosphere” according to its show statement.
Shimmer, which continues through December 31 features recent abstract works by local artists Jaim Hackbart and Mike Girón. Hackbart is a contemplative abstract painter who uses nature and spirituality to explore “color, line, shape, texture, form, and vibration”. While layering the images through patterns and color to “cover and reveal” the history and state of the image.
Girón use a combination of silkscreen, ink drawing and paint. He works through an open-ended process using tools to create textures. The artist tends to find a “balance between chaos an order” while using structure to create subject matter that is “almost there”.
A recurring weave pattern is a mainstay in Hackbart’s contribution to this show. This is particularly catching in a series of paintings beginning with “Water Study 2” and continuing through “Water Study 10”. In these symmetrical images Hackbart interlaces small designs of swirls, figures, and shapes into linear sequences of balanced duplication.
These repeated motifs are thoughtfully set in complimentary color schemes. The repeated shapes and gentle contrast of colors result in an ongoing sense of motion. The similarity in the artistic procedure successfully produces images that are connected while retaining autonomy.
Particularly interesting in Hackbart’s paintings is the unique experience for the viewer in relation to the distance from the work. Our visual ability to perceive the world we live in is three dimensional and often premeditated by our physical distance from a subject.
Consider standing on the banks of the Missouri River and how your observations from that vantage point would change when viewed from an airplane. Although the river is the same subject our proximity dictates the experience. In “Missouri Swirl” the stillness in Hackbart’s fine attention to detail and brush stroke is unmistakable.
As one steps away from the painting the finite detail is replaced with a new impression. Hackbart’s two dimensional paintings may not intend to imitate an aerial view, but the reference to land, water and light and our personal relationship to art and world are poignant.
Mike Girón is widely known and celebrated for his craftsmanship as a muralist. In contrast to his large and easy to identify realistic murals, his contribution to Shimmer is a refreshing departure. His portfolio in this show includes paintings, inks and screen prints. Found in many of these art pieces is Groin’s curious use of a grid. This stricture of a grid is united with an abstract flow of color generating a delicate combination of freedom and restraint.
In spite of using an open process with a factor of happenstance, Giron’s work are masterfully balanced in rhythm and hue. This is demonstrated in “XIWOLD” and “Blue River” where layers interacting lines and color comply within a subtle lattice of crisscrossing patterns. The spacing and framework yields an attractive outcome that is vibrant with energy.
This duo exhibit’s intent is to show “some of the most familiar patterns of motion in the natural world” with an introspective glimpse of an artist’s abstract view of how light “shimmers” on various bodies of water, landscapes and atmospheres.
All is accomplished by Jaim Hackbart’s form and structure influenced by her experience in printmaking and Mike Girón’s mastery of grid and interacting colors. Shimmer is a mature and vested display of recent works by two skilled and seasoned artists.
The exhibit continues through December 31, at the Michael Phipps Gallery in the W. Dale Clark Library on 215 S. 15th St. in Omaha. Gallery hours are 10 a.m-8 p.m., Monday- Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. and Sundays 1- 6 p.m. For more information call 402-444-4800 or visit omahalibrary.org