Yesterday and tomorrow
It’s a curious combination: Carla Bengtson’s Latitude Zero Paintings with Galelyn Williams’ Instant Ancestors. Or maybe not. Displayed until October 22 at the JayJay gallery, at 5520 Elvas Avenue, the show offers a bit of the world now and tomorrow in Bengtson’s oil paintings, while Williams’ mixed-media works resurrect personalities from yesterday.
Bengtson confesses that her new work was inspired by long visits to the Ecuadorian tropics, “with their luminous reflective surfaces,” evoking those in which Narcissus gazed at his reflection. She captures that reflective surface perfectly in “Galapagos,” a large oil-on-wood disc that begs to be compared with a drummer’s weathered cymbal—and not just because of its shape. Bengtson allows metallic glints to shimmer through her layers of oil. Areas of blue clouds also could render this disc as a vision of the Earth from space, a commentary on our ever-changing environment and how today’s human behavior affects tomorrow.
Williams reaches into the past, rescuing antique photographs and embellishing them to create her own mixed-media stories. In an untitled portrait of a genteel woman, with the name Beverly inscribed underneath, Williams spins her own fractured fairy tale. As the woman gazes serenely, but with a hint of sadness in her eyes, gnarled and wintery branches grow from her ruffled collar, and birds flit around her wrapped and swaddled upper body, snatching twigs. Their movement is deceptive, implying that the dead flora might continue to grow, veiling Beverly like the brambles that encompassed Sleeping Beauty’s castle. Williams’ manipulation encourages the viewer to continue the tale. It could end in several scenarios, all of which delivering, with a Twilight Zone eeriness, a message from the past. For more information, call (916) 453-2999.