David Findlay Jr. Fine Art LFL Gallery
The boldly colorful paintings that make up Emily Mason’s show of recent work reside in a fickle and uncanny space—one with parameters as drastically thin yet overwhelmingly vast as all the myriad tones and nuances existing between like colors. Nebulous expanses of pure color blend and collide and argue with one another, then suddenly crystallize at some fugitive moment of clarity as if rendered from supersaturated anxiety. With decided idiosyncrasy, Mason doggedly investigates the possibilities of what Kandinsky called the inexhaustible material of color and form.
“Fences Fled Away” (2004) captures the intensely warm orange-yellow glow that rests upon shut eyes encountering a sun-drenched afternoon. A subdued, loosely woven lattice of orange and yellow proposes evasive geometries ultimately flanked by blue oddities. Flashy and heated, “Wake Up Call” (2004) churns like the brooding storms of Jupiter. The various techniques employed to modulate the colors’ intensity, tone, and opacity create an intricate tour de force.
Elsewhere colors are far less natural, and forms remain persistently unknowable. The garish Technicolor monoliths that dominate “Juice” (2004) and “Water Table” (2004) serve to underscore the sensitivity, richness, and flow of “Embraced” (2004). Filling a serpentine rivulet, vivid yet fragile colors fall into and neatly stack upon one another while fibrous lavender splashes accent and relinquish balanced stasis.
There are a number of small oils in the show, but they mostly demonstrate how well suited Mason’s work is to large canvases. Rather than agitated studies of discrete color relationships, “Turtle Bay” (2004) and “Dew Drop” (2004) both implode under external duress and merely reconcile with spatial constraint. Flat patches of color beg to be dappled; grimy opacity wishes to be lean. In fact it is the small, rectangular “Canyon” (2004) and “Bee Hum” (2004) that seem the least diminutive, despite being so. In them Mason not only seems after a wholly reconsidered set of goals, she also cooperates with the canvases’ features rather than against them. The artist taps into the rectangle’s inherent energy to enhance the description of fissures and suggest subtle lateral movement.
That fungible intermediate space at times falls between diffuse abstraction and unconscious modeling after nature; elsewhere it exists between natural and unnatural color, or between cohesion and disunity. Mason, never unwilling to sacrifice harmony in favor of espousing more interesting dilemmas, often ignores much of Kandinsky’s prescriptive canon in hopes to build, by the dictates of incorrigible logic, the most fabulous pictorial architecture imaginable. But in doing so, she adds her own fresh chapter to the tradition.
Emily Mason: Chelsea PaintingsBy Elizabeth Buhe
FEB 2021 | ArtSeen
In looking at the canvases of Emily Mason now on view at Miles McEnery we sense not so much a relation to a certain place or thing, but a lifetime of visual experiences put down onto canvas through a keen process of filtering. The result in Masons work is necessarily nonspecific yet points nonetheless toward layers of feeling: light reflected off a rippling canal, a gleaming gold surface, flowers in mid-summer.
“We Can’t Lose the Funk”: Roger Q. Mason’s Mission to Protect Black TGNC Playwrights When Commercial Theaters Come CallingBy Marcus Scott
NOV 2021 | Theater
Playwright Roger Q. Mason, with the National Queer Theater and the Dramatists Guild, has started the revolutionary New Visions Fellowship, which uplifts and supports Black TGNC playwrights in umpteen ways. As these historically underrepresented playwrights slowly gain commercial appeal, Mason toggles two truths: these vital works are commercially viable, and yet they must also be shared in a way that does not dull their craft, queerness, and jagged edges.
Robert C. Morgan: The Loggia Paintings: Early and Recent WorkBy Jonathan Goodman
NOV 2022 | ArtSeen
Intellectual, critic, and art historian Robert C. Morgan also makes paintings, and has been doing so for most of his long career. The current show, on view in the large, high-ceilinged main space of the Scully Tomasko Foundation, consists of a series of drawings called Living Smoke and Clear Water: small, mostly black-and-white works, of both an abstract expressionist and calligraphic nature (early on in life, Morgan studied with a Japanese calligrapher).
Wolf Kahn & Emily MasonBy David Ebony
FEB 2021 | ArtSeen
Artists, lovers, life-partners, art-world rivals, benefactors, and luminaries, Emily Mason (19322019) and Wolf Kahn (19272020) were all of these thingsand more. Miles McEnery Gallery has devoted each of its two spaces to the first posthumous solo gallery exhibitions for the couple, who died within months of each other after more than sixty years of marriage.