Heavy Light Gillian Theobald
March 9 - April 1, 2023

Enter these gardens - billowing trees - soft warm light - muted hues - hazy earth. New fictive spaces bloom at studio e with works made by Gillian Theobald.

For Heavy Light Theobald shares works on paper in a stunning display of contrasting soft tones. It’s in the heaviness of the light where Theobald sees and captures her distinct garden landscapes. Working primarily on Japanese papers, the discourse between trees, flowers, ground, bodies of water and light transport the viewer to new realities beyond the threshold of the paper.

An abstract expressionist at heart, she goes back and forth between working on low relief collages and paintings. The collage allows for a quick burst of creative conversation while the paintings are slower meditations. The collages are a mix of materials she gathers from streets and recycling bins. Her paintings of nature are an intentional grappling with form, light and reverberating color. While she’s in conversation with the differing processes they converse with one another.

She may reference a plant structure when starting a painting, usually though the images are from within her. Theobald states, “I don't just make up the imaginary landscape.  It evolves in a process of interaction.  As soon as I make a few marks, I have to take those marks into consideration.  I'm not so much a director as a mediator, a facilitator.  It's a slow evolutionary process, with color being the principal driver.” Theobald moves colors and plays with tensions within all the fictive spaces. She coordinates sky, trees and ground in landscapes and then flattens, distorts and shifts planes of the surfaces of each painting. The tension lies within the surface of the paper, and as she says, “How the paper takes the mark.”  The paper’s absorbency and responsiveness, her reference to nature as she lays color and opens them and us to abstraction, providing entry into these living environments. There’s a divinity in her ability to garden with paper and paint. A flat yet vast world - tense and calm - waiting for us to visit and explore.                                                                          

-Erin Shafkind