Exhibit Review | Rebecca Ibel Gallery: Paintings reflect on wrath of nature
Sunday, April 17, 2011 03:15 AM
For the Columbus Dispatch
An untitled painting by Kurt Lightner
An exploration of the temporal is the focus of the penultimate exhibition at the Rebecca Ibel Gallery.
In June, after 18 years of operation, Ibel will close her Short North gallery; she recently closed her other gallery space, in the Miranova building Downtown.
Ibel will become curator and director of the Pizzuti Collection. The private collection of businessman Ron Pizzuti will be housed in exhibition space to be developed at 632 Park St.
Fittingly, the next-to-last show in the Ibel gallery focuses on change. (She plans to showcase the works of Sarah Fairchild for the gallery's last exhibit.)
The works of Kurt Lightner, an Ohio native living in New York, examine the ephemeral nature of the rural environment. In previous works, Lightner has called attention to the demise of the family farm and the consequences of urban sprawl.
In his latest body of work, he focuses on debris. At first, the paintings seem to be simple, well-composed abstractions. Only later does one see bits of window and door frames. Clearly, these are the remains of homes wrecked by a natural disaster.
Although the imagery is that of tornado damage in the Midwest, the works are all the more poignant as one considers the destruction of Hurricane Katrina and the recent earthquakes and tsunami in Japan.
In all of Lightner's untitled pieces, the compositions have a delicate, if not fragile, rhythm and movement. Single brushstrokes form fractured boards and walls. Stacked precariously, the destruction is strangely hypnotic. The works allow us to consider the fragility of life - and how the power of nature trumps the plans of humanity.
Cautionary but serene, Lightner's paintings function as warnings of the unexpected.