Laura Fayer

Rocky Mountain News

Mary Voelz Chandler
April 13, 2007

What: Laura Fayer has found a way to make her paintings appear both relaxed and structured, using an organic sensibility to soften works that depend on eye-popping mark-making for their impact.

In a new show at Rule Gallery, New York-based Fayer is represented by almost three dozen paintings, most of which were created since 2004. These hold together as a gigantic ensemble, a primer on how to use layers of rice paper on canvas as a way to add texture and depth. Through the application of paper and paint, the artist also alternately displays and obscures other colors and other surfaces while in the end producing a cohesive whole.

Head back to 2002, though, and Fayer’s Spring Garden hints at a different style, a work dotted with the suggestion of blossoms, as well as an area that defines a floral shape through the use of the void.

Moving around the room, the newer works hang together in a way that complements the technical side of the paintings as well as the sharp aesthetic the artist is seeking. Fayer uses stencils and rubber stamps to produce a winning combination of uniformity and divergence that plays through many of the pieces.

In Facing South, especially, Fayer demonstrates her skill at constructing a piece that can be read in several different ways. Against a not-quite-evenly gridded ground, in itself laid on bright green, Fayer builds two areas of interest in what could be taken for an aerial map of land way out in the country. First, she creates a bar – an edge of some sort, perhaps, or a road? – that adds movement across the diagonal of the painting. Then she balances it with a grouping of forms, lines that diverge in a mysterious way suggesting a river or some secret path.

In other canvases, Fayer employs a more pronounced reliance on line. The large-scale Coax, for instance, again features that irregular grid over most of the painting, but what appears to be a giant river, flowing lines that jump off the canvas, immediately attract the eye, for their bold, oblique placement as much as for the fact that they appear to be flowing into a beautiful rosy sea.

And in the smaller, but perhaps punchier Flights of Fancy, Fayer uses short, sharp horizontal black marks to create the suggestion of a flock of birds literally racing across the canvas. It is a gem, an example of how movement and speed can be interpreted through simple, if blocky, lines.

Fayer is fairly new to Rule Gallery, an addition that typifies owner Robin Rule’s ability to find a balance between artists from outside Colorado with those who work in the metro area. In this instance, it is an artist who received her master of fine arts degree in painting from Hunter College after graduating from Harvard University in visual and environmental studies.

And Fayer’s works do bring to mind natural phenomena, a world seen from above or head on, with the same conflation of brute force and ingratiating beauty nature brings to our daily lives.

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