Prairie Smoke

Victor M. Cassidy

Rebecca Shore: Geometric Play
Rebecca Shore makes egg tempera paintings. This ancient technique brings art history with it, she says, particularly "the intimate and intense religious paintings of 15th-century Siena." Shore’s images comprise circles, ellipses, hexagons, arcs and diamonds in grids. Egg tempera gives her a "beautiful surface," she states, "quick drying time and potential for layering of translucent colors, and incising and scraping." Some of Shore’s patterns suggest weaving and recall her years as a textile artist.

Because they are so flat, Shore’s pattern paintings could become dull, but her skillful layering allows subtle blushes of color to come through from behind and animate the surface. There is a surprising amount of movement in these paintings, but it cannot be absorbed in a glance. Both #23 (2003) and #04 (2004) change as the viewer walks by. This work rewards thought and effort on the viewer’s part.

Shore works on 30 x 24 in. and 24 x 18 in. panels. Her scale is just right. Expansion would add nothing and shrinking the paintings might make them precious. #25 (2003) is particularly successful at its scale with hexagon patterns floating over a multicolored, striped background. This artist works well with shallow spaces.

Shore’s show includes gouache works on paper. Figurative and more relaxed than the paintings, the gouaches depict plants and plant parts. Shore likes doing them. They’re easier and quicker than egg tempera, a nice way to recharge her batteries, she says.