Anna Von Mertens – Aurora

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Anna VonMertens, Aurora, hand-dyed cotton on wooden stretcher 54 x 100 inches, on view until May 31, 2014 at Elizabeth Leach Gallery

Aurora is vivid and saturated in color. But rather than being flat and graphic, the cotton surface gives it an interesting depth and vibrancy. It shimmers and floats or wobbles, like its namesake phenomenon. Taken together the show – Above, between and in – is pleasingly odd. The dyed cotton pieces are inspired variously by the aurora borealis, aura photography (which recalls medical imaging technology and images that register differences in temperature), and “patterns left behind from the artist’s nutritional juicing” (which look a bit like Helen Frankenthaler’s abstractions). The work feels like an experiment (and a successful one) in finding visual and conceptual inspiration in all sorts of places: the heavens, unseen energies, and waste.

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