Friday, March 20, 2009

REVIEW: Arthur Zorn at La Brioche in Montpelier

By Theodore Hoppe

Writing a review of an abstract expressionist is more difficult than one would imagine. A case in point is the paintings of Arthur Zorn at the La Brioche Cafe in Montpelier. For Zorn, painting appears to be highly expressive, engaging the canvas as a receiver of emotions. And therein lies the problem. If the art is a manifestation of self how can one speak about the art without speaking about the artist? The expression of art as "self" opens the viewer to both the conscious and unconscious self. The viewer is privy to both the soothing effect the artist seeks to convey, and the sub-conscious moods of the artist.

This subconsciousness appears as an internal argument within paintings that often end in a bold drizzling statement of authority by the artist that can leave the inner voice moody and muttering. Thankfully, this isn't always the case with Zorn. Yellow Vase (right), for example, seems to incorporate all of Zorn's ideas to a successful conclusion. The white flowers are a floral illusion that float on the canvas with sunlight spinning and reflecting off glass and water. The mood is bright and gay.

Spring suggests the struggle of things held for too long in darkness, emerging with the spark of life. Java Jive, installed above the coffee counter, is strong and vibrant, like a french roast and half and half, with its bold black, white, and gold drizzles . Contra Dance has all of the swinging and twirling of a Saturday evening at the Grange Hall.

The La Brioche space is filled with many paintings in this exhibit, and unfortunately not all are hung in good light.