Handkerchief amoré

Allison Miller, Noren, Susan Inglett Gallery, New York, New York

Allison Miller, Noren, Susan Inglett Gallery, New York, New York

Ahh. . . now here we are in the land of pure abstraction, not a representational figure in sight, yet Allison Miller uses pattern to create a wafting, billowy painting that draws your eye back and forth in the breeze. Like a gossamer handkerchief on a clothes line, or a myriad flags waving under a quilted sky.

The use of pattern here is still as playful and engaging as in the last two paintings we touched. If you look closely, the patterns actually create the painting and its depths.  Not utilitarian and controlled, bowing to the artists bidding. They take on a life of thier own, stacking like those overhead transparencies our teachers used to use, laid one on top of the other. She accomplishes this transparent depth by working in a medium called encaustic, hot wax mixed with pigment and then applied.

Notice the background layer, a collage of quilted colors that melt and merge in liquidy squares. These draw your eye deep into the painting. Next look at the gossamer overlay of filmy blue- the squigges dance on top. These seem to float and wriggle right before your eyes.  What to do with the squiggles in orange diamonds, do they belong to the quilted background or the breezy foreground, or a no-man’s-land midground?

The squiggles remind me of flags, and I imagine she is bidding “ciao” to her Italian (or Hungarian) lover. I still can’t get the handkerchief impression out of my head– but that could be the muffled call of a forgotten one given to me by a long ago lover, tucked back in my lingerie drawer.  Does she long for that vibrant happiness? Maybe she just misses the kick-ass gelato.



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