DARK VICTORIES: MAX COLE AND CONSTANCE DEJONG
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