May 7, 2015 – June 27, 2015

Lydia bassis, sue danielson, ken deroux, koji kubota, junko yamamoto

Reception and Artist Talks Thursday June 11th 6-9pm

“What appeals to me, but can also frustrate me, is the central difficulty of abstraction: that while there may not be any “rules,” each painting develops its own internal logic, which cannot be known when the process begins.”

–Ken DeRoux


This Spring, ArtsWest Gallery presents The Moon is Free, a group show featuring five artists exploring the internal logic of abstract painting: Lydia Bassis, Sue Danielson, Ken DeRoux, Koji Kubota and Junko Yamamoto.

Lydia Bassis thinks of the system of shapes that populate her paintings as a private symbolism. A triangle made up of hundreds of short graphite lines has a soft green zigzag halo hovering above and around it. This green, sky-written zigzag has its echo in the more sturdy zigzags below, whose contents are almost too fluid for their lines. Bassis writes: “I’m interested in how a specific place, space, thing, object, or even person, can have its meaning or identity formed by its surroundings.”

The intricate bits of drawings layered on top of each other in Sue Danielson’s recent works on paper look like they’re being held together in a loosely square shape by some kind of self-generated gravity. Danielson is interested in the dynamics of memory and the role it plays in altering our perceptions. She writes: “My process-based abstractions are a visual representation of this ongoing alteration.”

Ken DeRoux’s paintings ambiguously reference geological phenomena. Hair-like streams of water pour out of grate-like shapes, half-moons hover in flocks, and layers of individual, many-colored paint strokes suggest the rich sedimentary layer of the earth. DeRoux writes about his early attraction to abstract painting as a kid: “I felt connected to something that expanded my experience of being alive, but it was on some emotional, non-verbal level. It was a feeling. This is something I try to approach in my own work.”

The exuberant innocence of Koji Kubota’s paintings is intoxicating. Stars, triangles, circles and squiggles bounce off each other as though dancing. For the most part the colors are unabashedly of the Crayola variety. Kubota writes: “My goals are to give my viewers a feeling of enchantment and a way to experience their own inner beauty, joy and childlike peaceful innocence.”

Junko Yamamoto is invested in the space between things—“the space between atoms, cells, between people, objects, air, stars and sky; the cosmic glue which holds us and the universe together.” Using a variety of painting materials and methods, including calligraphic brush strokes and housepainting rollers, she layers shapes to create a space that is addressed in paradoxical ways: at times it recedes into infinite distances, then somewhere else in the same painting it is shortened so much to suggest that the colors and shapes are literally slapped on top of the painting.

– Susanna Bluhm, Gallery Director