Press: Where Magazine, December 2008

Scherzo, 2008. Oil on linen. 60 x 60 inches.

Scherzo, 2008. Oil on linen. 60 x 60 inches.

Dual-Minded

by Jean Lawlor Cohen, Where Magazine, Washington, DC, December 2008

Advice to gallery goers: allow a little time for looking at the paintings of Nan Montgomery. At first, her new oils seem pleasant botanicals, but then…what about those colors not found in nature or those encroaching stripes?

An established Washington artist, Montgomery has always been intrigued by color and geometry. (She studied, after all, with Josef Albers at Yale.) And for years, she produced abstract work—atmospheric color on armatures of the square, cross and circle.  More recently, however, she’s incorporated vistas or in-your-face plant life. One essayist called it a “back and forth between the two great American subjects, landscape and abstraction.”

In her current show at Osuna Art, gladioli figure in several works. Their strong verticals echo the stripes that lie beneath the stems or hover at the canvas edge. Scherzo began with that thin, cadmium red stripe laid uneasily off-center on the purplish ground. The curving stems, each an unnatural single color, play off the rigidity of the stripes that frame them. Montgomery relishes the tension she creates between a geometric form and the cattails she found growing beside a country road.

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