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New Work- William Roy Dawes, Ling-Wen Tsai, Mark Wethli

The aesthetics of William Roy Dawes, Ling Wen Tsai, and Mark Wethli are similar: design-influenced, colorful, and geometrical. Since this work is pleasurable and user friendly, we'd like you to take your enjoyment sincerely. Do as Dawes wishes you to and approach what you see like music, finding the presence of mind to experience without pretentious cerebral interference. Harmonious tones and rhythms (vibrant and pleasurable) are an ascending scale to revelatory moments. A Zen proverb goes "move and the way will open" another goes "the infinite is in the finite of every instant". Yep, Tsai dips into the beating tattoo of the infinite. Wethli imparts a vibrational frequency that is a meditation on history and identity while Dawes riffs on essence and parts to a whole. Translation, distillation, repetition, ecstasy!

Brightly ringing turquoise and pink revolve around the dark centerpieces of William Roy Dawes' work. Bubbling, bold colors and repeating, decorative shapes accent dark, simplified forms, extracted and abstracted from nature. These move up and down from panel to panel like a slow-moving, walking bass line whose gravitational energy fixes the other repetitive elements. Some of these elements from within the works even float away onto the walls. Dawes explains that "the wall drawings are 'punctuation' to help guide the viewer through the space."This "punctuation" phrases the distilled forms (some drawn from the iconic curves of the lotus) with the shape and sizes of the canvases so that they make sense as a structured, melodious whole. Like an equation that elegantly orders the relationships between molecules, this installation presents wild elements within a certain time signature and classification that allows their hidden harmonies to be polished, brought forth, ultimately understood and enjoyed.

Ling-Wen Tsai presents a body of work, little squares that moves through order into chaos and back. Sometimes suspended, sometimes bursting forth or evaporating, the evolving and variable grids in these small acrylic paintings on aluminum are like Polaroids of potential combinations and organizations. Tsai uses the word "playful" in describing these works appropriately, as each painting is a curious spark. The endless possibilities of mark making, the transformative magic of varying colors shapes, materials, thicknesses, pressure, time etc. defines artistic desire. Artists are made restless/elated with the possibilities to explore, and to map, the latent unfolding universe inside everything and anything. Tsai's desire is no different: "to create a sense of order, chaos, depth, flatness, contraction, expansion, stability and movement". Her works move from order to chaos, they implode, and ultimately sprout into an entirely new sort of matrix rewarding the viewer with a hopeful journey.

It's like Mark Wethli scraped and buffed the surfaces of the salvaged tabletops that serve as the surfaces for his paintings to reveal strange, glowing colors and shapes. Instead he rescued the abused and deeply "loved" wood and delicately painted the surface, making sure not to hide the natural state of the wood. Some of the works in this body are wildly, excitedly, scratched while others bear really protracted and ancient scars. Some have squares of holes bored in them. It makes sense that Wethli's pure and purposeful compositions would match the deliberate intrigue of four small holes. An odd sense of color and simple, wonky lines suggest rural places and elements of African and Oceanic design. The quietly composed forms are like moments clarified and drawn out in the reflecting pool of time. Influenced by memories of a period spent in Spain and Mallorca, the colors are the weathered, odd patina of memory, not obscuring, but rather synchronizing completely with the deeply scarred surfaces. Perhaps these mere hints of Mediterranean remembrances, to a tired New Englander, evoke the tastes of such places; salty olives, nutty cheese, and bright fruit flavors are sea, earth, and heat. These sense memories are in Wethli's paintings as stretches of creamy, indescribable, violet-gray, flat parched reds, and burning ochre atop a complex, crackling palimpsest. A strange and subtle wonder.

-Celeste Parke

William Roy Dawes is based in the Boston area, and is currently the Assistant Director of Operations at the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University. His work has been show widely throughout Boston and Massachusetts at the Gallery AA/B in Boston, Rice Polak Gallery in Provincetown, and the President's Gallery at MassArt among others. He has completed commissions for Bank of Boston, Aetna Life & Casualty, Spaulding & Slye and is the collections of Apple Computer Executive Offices, Meditech Corporation, AT&T and Wang Laboratories among many.

Ling-Wen Tsai performs, collaborates, photographs, teaches, as well as paints. She is an Associate Professor of Sculpture and New Media at Maine College of Art and has exhibited, performed or been screened at nationally and internationally venues including Bowdoin College, Space Gallery, Tampopo Art Space in Taiwan, Qasim Sabti Gallery in Baghdad, the Goethe Institute in Boston, and Cit-Internationale des Arts in Paris, France.

Mark Wethli lives and works in Brunswick, Maine where he is the A. Leroy Greason Professor of Art at Bowdoin College. He has been included in exhibitions at the DeCordova Museum of Art, the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, and the Portland Museum of Art and is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Farnsworth Museum of Art, and the Portland Museum of art, among others. His work was recently shown at Red Flagg Gallery in New York City and is shown regularly by Icon Contemporary Art in Brunswick, Maine.

An opening reception will be held on Friday, July 3rd from 5 - 8 pm. The show will be on view through July 31st.
Whitney Artworks is open Wednesday - Saturday from
12 - 6 pm and by appointment.


William Roy Dawes, <i>Mod Props</i>2009, mixed media on panels
William Roy Dawes, Mod Props2009, mixed media on panels

Ling-Wen Tsai, <i>little squares - 2</i>, 2009, acrylic on aluminum, 12� x 12�
Ling-Wen Tsai, little squares - 2, 2009, acrylic on aluminum, 12� x 12�

Mark Wethli, <i>Mask</i>
Mark Wethli, Mask", 2009, acrylic on found wooden panel, 40" x 30"

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