DARK VIC­TO­RIES: MAX COLE AND CON­STANCE DEJONG

Pasatiempo - - MIXED MEDIA - — Paul Wei­de­man

Black is a per­fect foil for the spare artis­tic ges­tures of Max Cole and Con­stance DeJong, and both women wield it ably in their new works. An ex­hi­bi­tion open­ing at Char­lotte Jack­son Fine Art (554 S. Guadalupe St., 505-989-8688) is ti­tled Black Magic.

Both Mid­west-born artists (Cole from Kansas and DeJong from Ohio) with tremen­dously re­fined artis­tic view­points, their pal­ettes also in­clude white, greys, and in DeJong’s case, the warm glow of cop­per and the pale yel­low of elec­tric light. Cole is now work­ing in the for­mat of the square, a sig­nif­i­cant vari­a­tion from her long­time hor­i­zon­tal por­tray­als. Her new pieces are an­chored by the pow­er­fully sym­met­ri­cal Greek cross; some­times it is the ob­vi­ous dom­i­nant form, in other works the cross is ab­stracted. Build­ing with acrylic paint and washes on rag pa­per, she com­poses with ex­act­ing pat­terns of lines and bands — although hand­drawn marks bal­ance that ini­tial im­pres­sion of pre­ci­sion.

Pre­cisely en­gi­neered hous­ings frame DeJong’s new com­po­si­tions, which are more enig­matic than Cole’s at first glance, but the bot­tom line is that close in­spec­tion mag­ni­fies ap­pre­ci­a­tion of ev­ery piece in this ex­hi­bi­tion. Cen­tered in each of DeJong’s hous­ings is a piece of cop­per — a rec­tan­gle, arc, or other shape. The cop­per and sub­tle, in­te­gral il­lu­mi­na­tion — in her

Grid se­ries shin­ing through a rig­or­ous grid of tiny, drilled holes — con­trast with sim­ple black or white squares as back­ground and/or a cen­tral, con­structed “shadow” el­e­ment im­me­di­ately be­low the cop­per ob­ject.

The ex­hi­bi­tion opens with a 5 p.m. re­cep­tion on Fri­day, Oct. 16. A gallery talk with the artists and Laura Ad­di­son, the Mu­seum of In­ter­na­tional Folk Art’s cu­ra­tor of North Amer­i­can and Euro­pean folk art, takes place at 2:30 p.m. Satur­day, Oct. 17. The ex­hi­bi­tion hangs through Nov. 16.

Left, Con­stance DeJong: Split Cube, 2005, cop­per and maple; right, Max Cole: Un­ti­tled, Greek

Cross Se­ries 3, 2015, acrylic and acrylic washes on rag pa­per; top, DeJong (left) and Cole (right) at work in their stu­dios

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