Tension and Balance Coincide at Goya-Girl

by Louise Sheldon
You can look at these works for a long time and not tire of them. They are works of great purity.
       I felt weight lifted from my shoulders and a sense of relief engulfed me as I glanced around the Goya-Girl gallery, finding myself surrounded by the acrylics and lithographs of Timothy App.

       The impact of this artwork composed of pure geometric shapes—angles, arcs, triangles and rectangles—is surprisingly cool and refreshing. Adhering closely to Minimalist precepts, the work appears at the same time both eloquent in a grand manner and evocative of the classical architecture of ancient Greece.

       "My purpose as a painter is to hold the tension and balance between the architect in me and the poet, between reason and intuition, and to give form to that which I cannot name," the artist has stated.

       Timothy App is a professor of drawing and painting at the Maryland Institute, College of Art. This exhibition of 19 of his acrylic paintings and lithographs will be on view at Goya-Girl Press through May 20.

       Many of the small paintings (11 x 14 inches) on view are studies for the larger lithographs (28 x 36 inches), and there is a distinct difference between the two forms of art. The small acrylics on canvas give off a warm painterly glow; the clearly visible brush strokes lend a lively sense of movement to these pieces.

       On the other hand, lithographs of the same compositions and colors have such clear-cut lines and such uniform tonality that the effect is one of supreme serenity and timelessness.

       Six muted colors are applied in both the paintings and the prints: two grays, two ochres, black and rose. As the lithographs are printed on fine rice paper, a slight mottling of the rose and the black, in particular, occurs that lends the colors resonance and sensuality. In some, the use of pure white contrasts with and outshines the off-white of the paper, adding zest and strength to the work.

       Tension is created through the judicious juxtaposition of darks and lights or white, and the occasional diagonal knifing through the center of the work, slicing off the arc of a circle or creating a tall, imposing triangle reminiscent of an ancient obelisk.

       In two large acrylic paintings (66 x 80 inches and 66 x 60 inches), in an identical spare Minimalist style and colors, architectural references are strengthened by the sheer size of the works. Less serene in appearance than the lithographs, these works present a powerful Constructivist presence of arches, domes, pillars, symmetry and asymmetry.

       Surely it is the meticulous precision of the workmanship that makes these lithographs seem so clean, so untouched by human hand. What we see is the cooperation of an orderly mind and a gentle hand in creating works of rare purity.

       You can look at these works for a long time and not tire of them. Each geometric composition differs from its neighbor, offering seemingly endless possibilities.

       A Noteworthy Operation

       Goya-Girl Press is in itself a noteworthy operation which a number of artists, not all of them local, have found useful. Founded five years ago by Martha Macks, the print-making atelier was established in response to a growing need for a facility that could print, publish and display artists' work.

       Even those with no experience in print-making can work with professional intaglio and lithograph printers to create editions and unique prints. Lithographers can work one-on-one with a technician using a 36 x 60-inch manually cranked Tanach press. Numerous types of printing surfaces are available, from the 200-year-old technique of drawing on limestone, to the latest photographic methods.

       Goya-Girl's separate intaglio studio is equipped with several presses, permitting all traditional methods, including etching, monoprint, monotype, collagrapb and relief, as well as newer experimental techniques.

       Recent projects at Goya-Girl include new publications by such luminaries as Louisa Chase, Ellen Gallagher, Sowon Kwon, Christian Marclay, Liliana Porter and Joyce J. Scott. Goya-Girl is located in a renovated textile mill at 3000 Chestnut Ave., Suite 214 (Tel: 410-366-2001).


Copyright © 2003 The Baltimore Chronicle and The Sentinel. All rights reserved. We invite your comments, criticisms and suggestions.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle and Sentinel content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on April 4, 2001.