The Drawers - Laurie Sponagle   Commentary written by Julie Oakes

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Highly Recommended, Jan 11 - Feb 20, 2007

Charcoal is usually used to register looseness and not so concerned with precision. Laurie Sponagle defies this convention and it is in her defiance that her definitive renderings rise above the common lot. With charcoal powder and masking, Sponagle is able to gain the deep blacks of the charcoal, an unruly substance that likes to drift away from tight enclosures and reign in the evocative medium that seems to come with built-in shadows and mystery. By concentrating on specific subject matter, in this case interiors and nudes, the medium becomes the common denominator. Each subject area retains a consistent look, although similar to each other through a cool psychological tone.
The chairs have been assigned the personalities of those who sat on them. Within the rigid lines of wainscoting and framework, the implied presence of humanity is infused in the construction of the man-made environ as well as the vague auras of inhabitants past. With rich lush blacks and pristine sharp lines, Laurie Sponagle infuses an animation into the venue, as if a ghost was sitting there, warming the wood and holding spooky, silent court.

In an empathic placement with the chairs, her nudes fix humanity in a cold contrast of black and white. Without heads, they have no identity. They are as cool as alabaster, not so much stopped in the middle of motion, but posing. Who they are is not important. They exist as a phenomenon of neutrality where the body is engaged in no more than the occupation of space. This stasis, - faceless, nameless and unmotivated- is more like a thing than a person.

The chairs have been lent the identity of sitters. The nudes have assumed the clarity of an inanimate object. Sponagle, through her controlling artfulness has mastered her medium to omnipotent ends.

Copyright 2007,  Headbones Gallery