October 5 - November 4, 2023
Reception: Saturday, October 14th, 4:00 PM - 7:00 PMArtist Talk: Gay Summer Rick in Conversation with Shana Nys Dambrot, Saturday, October 21st, 4:00pm
The urban coastal environment continues to serve as muse for Gay Summer Rick’s paintings. For this new body of work the artist has delved into an exploration of awe and its ability to captivate and uplift us in troubling times. Floating, hovering, gliding, and flying, are pivotal themes explored in the work to elicit a sense of wonder. Graceful trapeze artists flying through the air, surfers at rest in the lull between waves, glowing reflections created by the setting sun just above the horizon, and objects, as though weightless, hovering overhead, invite the viewer to be transported.
Rick uses only palette knives to layer fine sheaths of colors to bring her visions to life. Through sensitively meditated control, she articulates delicate details and creates shimmering atmospheric scenes. In "Lustre", from above we watch as surfers in the distance float on a calm fuchsia sea.. “Adagio” captures two trapeze artists sweeping through the air, holding each other’s arms in perfect harmony and control. Lighter Than Air provides a path to step away, experience a sense of lightness, peace, calm, quiet, or joy, and take the lift.
Gay Summer Rick’s primary preoccupation is the search for beauty and has found her spending years culling urban landscapes for hidden treasure. A longtime Los Angeles transplant from New York, Rick has used painting to reclaim home and her place in ever changing cityscapes. Rick’s work expresses quiet vibration and the surprising beauty of commonplace elements found in the urban environment. Her work describes this in an atmospheric and dreamlike yet familiar manner. Rick’s paintings are created using palette knives and layered veils of color, and they articulate the pulse of life where the city meets the sea, rendering her work as energetic as the tides that pull the ocean to and from the shore.
Gay Summer Rick: Lighter Than Air
When the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object. ― Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being
"The past few years have been heavy. Pollution, pandemic, politics—it can be easy to feel the weight, the pull of darkness. But there is a defense against that, a way to stay in the warmth of light, joy, awe, and even hope. For painter Gay Summer Rick, that way is through the boundless, buoyant beauty of nature. Her studio practice has always centered on the phenomenology of luminosity, the interplay of sun and shadow across the liminal place where the city meets the sea. But in this powerful cultural moment of transition and reemergence, Rick has discovered a new amplitude to the beauty, a more remarkable magnificence than ever—right when it was last expected, and most needed.
With subject matter like blazing sunsets on an ocean horizon, the kaleidoscopic refractions of a morning mist, the lively pointillism of bobbing surfboards, butterflies and blimps, and even the fantasy of circus trapeze, it would be easy to assume these were picture perfect scenes, pretty postcards from the edge. But as Rick uses palette knives to apply dozens of fine layers of paint, no brushes, and no washes, her imagery develops along the lines of abstraction, in the Turner mode of atmospheric effect and moody diffusions. It’s beautiful but it’s a thoughtful, magic-spell, suspended kind of beauty. It’s palliative, but it’s also a reminder of what we risk losing.
Based in nature and developed by the heart, silencing the mind in the presence of something greater, the cognitive flicker in Rick’s choreography of sublime and picturesque is embodied in her saturated and eccentric palette as well as in the silky topography of her surfaces. One feels the wafting breezes, the heat and moisture in the whispering air of receding, vaulted spaces; as the surfaces reveal their latent depths with time, so too the shifting colors morph with contemplation. Icy, polar white-blue, buttercup tinged with blood orange, deep dusty rose, auras of mango, the indigo blue that chases sunset and twinkles with stars like fireflies, and the hand- smoothed ombre of the dusky gradient reveal themselves, as the world does, slowly and then all at once."
2525 MICHIGAN AVE #A2, SANTA MONICA, CA 90404