Cliffs of colors curve across the walls at Chicago Art Source Gallery this month, donning Paint, Splatter & Roll: Ginny Skyes’ Irreverent Abstractions. In a full spread of dimensional acrylic paintings, Sykes’ collection composes arbitrary renderings of color and form that seem to come to life on their own capricious will. That is not to say that these paintings don’t take on somewhat narrative or representational gestures: it all depends on who’s looking at them.
“My language of mark-making (rhythm, shape, line) draws upon ancient archetypes suggestive of our existential human condition,” says Sykes. “The physical process (visceral, abstract, poetic) aims to express both restlessness and visual acuity to formal concerns, coalescing in a range of emotions. I’ll leave it to you to find and name them.”
Sykes spreads her paint across paper in thick swoops, giving it a dimensional quality that bridges to sculptural planes. By contrast, the paint often streams out into watercolor-like consistency as well, giving her pieces a climbing range of volumes. This creates a sense of both depth and movement that seems to bring these non-representational forms to life, making them entities all on their own.
As human beings, we are programed to search for the representational; to make sense of what we see so that our minds can process it to churn out some sort of meaning. In the world of abstraction, our minds tend to take non-representational forms (e.g. blobs and streaks) and translate them either into representational forms (that blob looks like a hand; that streak reminds me of a teardrop), or, less overtly (maybe even subconsciously) to certain feelings. Yellow can be excitable. Jagged lines can be aggravating. In her work, Sykes seeks to relate her abstractions to the viewer that is entirely dependent on that viewer. On a dependently personal level, these pieces give each individual the means for his or her private associations and reactions. What do you see? What do you feel? What does it remind you of? What does that elicit in you? It’s all about relating to the work, in whatever way you do, and perhaps, in the end, to something within yourself that reaches new planes of its own.
To see what Sykes’ work stirs in your psyche, check out Paint, Splatter & Roll, showing until November 11 at Chicago Art Source Gallery, 1871 N Clybourn Ave. The gallery is open 10am-6pm Monday-Fridsy, and 10am-5pm Saturday. Admission is free. You can view more of Ginny Sykes’ work on her website.
Photos courtesy of Chicago Art Source Gallery.