What united the paintings, drawings, sculpture, and collage of the recent Whiting Tennis show at Derek Eller Gallery was a kind of capillary motion. A step-by-step, fire-brigade method for building mass and covering space, it looked something like a rigorous materialism put in the service of an off-camera but serenely confident faith.
Blue Cactus is a five and a half foot tall acrylic and collage portrait of a highly abstracted, three-branched, denim-colored figure resting on tiny brown sofa legs. The sky behind it is painted in short, jutting, overlapping strokes of gray and blue, all of which could pass for both patches of sky and patches of sky between clouds; the ground beneath it in sharper-edged panels of brown and tan that recede dramatically upward with a jocular Cubist exaggeration; and the cactus itself in white-speckled blue geometric sections that only become figurative in concert with one another. Read More