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Back to Reviews 97


   

linda francis at
condeso/lawler gallery

by Michael Brennan  
 



Spiral,
1996.











Equatorial Precession,
1996.










Shadow,
1996.
   Cosmology is destiny. Theories regarding the mechanics of the universe usually affect the structure of our adopted philosophies, and sometimes infiltrate our most carefully conceived and constructed social and political systems. Even within the camera-friendly fringe of our solar system, cosmic events of all kinds effect our lives, from the doomsday lunacy of Comet Hale-Bopp to the doomsday stopping power displayed by Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 as it slammed sidelong 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 times into the planet Jupiter. The recent lava lust of Hollywood demonstrates that even the movie industry is now aware that order and havoc are determined by the same principles of causality and change. We are all bolide bound and even our moral universes are now ruled by Gravity, and deliverance will repeat itself on the other side of the coming Big Crunch. In a sense this is the dark matter of today's cosmology.

These universal issues were in the air at Linda Francis' recent show of six drawings, all chalk on paper. At first glance, the figures in her drawings look like billiard balls loaded in a triangular rack. With one thought, however, the viewer is transported to the subatomic level, and the spheres then appear as particles locked in charged bonds. The rotating triangular nucleus of Spiral is a quick lesson from God's galactic game plan. In the process of making another drawing, River, Francis, following the pattern of quantum-level wave structure, has created some interior forms, especially the one that appears teardrop shaped, that seem to embody the flow of water. These drawings represent a realm, beyond unassisted vision, where passionate creativity and inquiry might still reveal new and instructive possibilities. These drawings are elemental, not Minimal, nor reductive, and they function at the building block level of knowledge. They are constructed outside of any conventional rectilinear idea of composition in art.

Scientific representation prefers orderly models that mimic the purity of math. Forget about those clean, colorfully enameled models of protons and neutrons that looked like teen-age Tinker Toys. I once saw a photograph of an atom taken from an electron microscope and that atom looked like fuzzy, lumpen blackberries vibrating in staticky rubber bands like the core of a golf ball. Tuesday comes closer to this real and dynamic depiction of atomic life than anything else I have ever seen on the subject. Even the great physicist Werner Heisenberg, through his famous Uncertainty Principle, implied that particles behave as waves, and do not have definite positions, but appear "smeared out" within a probable distribution. Linda Francis reveals hidden and unknown pleasures.

Linda Francis at Condeso/Lawler Gallery, 524 Broadway, New York, NY 10012.

MICHAEL BRENNAN is a New York painter who writes on art.