Laura Fayer

Westword Denver

Current | Laura Fayer
Exhibits at Rule and Robischon prove that abstraction isn’t dead.
By Michael Paglia
Published: April 26, 2007
There’s something about abstraction that keeps it keeping on, despite a fairly successful assault from postmodernism’s conceptual realism that posits a sharp rejoinder to abstraction’s decorative tendencies. And sure, painting itself has long been said to be dead — particularly a style as quaint as abstract painting — but it’s still going strong, and at any given time, there are more than a few exhibits around town that promote that quintessentially modern sensibility.

Continuing the conversation about contemporary abstraction is Laura Fayer, at Rule Gallery. The lyrical Fayers would look perfect in the Robischon show, so this presentation makes a great companion exhibit. The Rule show is Fayer’s debut in Denver; the artist, who is a graduate of Harvard University and of Hunter College, where she earned her MFA, lives in New York City.
A key component in Fayer’s pieces are the custom-made painting tools she fashions, including stencils and rubber stamps, that allow her to repeat certain elements in her compositions. These devices are essential to her method and are often employed to paint the lines or bars used extensively in most of the paintings. Some also have lines drawn in colored pencil. The lines, whether stenciled, stamped or drawn, especially the ones that are done in horizontal stacks, provide the paintings with clearly delineated structures that define her pictorial spaces. These lines are often arranged in parallel blocks, whether they’re straight or meandering.

There is a Japanesque quality to many of Fayer’s paintings — for example, the wonderful, “Excavation,” in acrylic and rice paper on canvas. The way the colors are broken in fragments and the composition itself are reminiscent of a Japanese block print. “Excavation” is one of the older paintings in the show; the more recent ones are simple and less Japanesque. Fayer notes in her artist statement that she is interested in the Japanese idea of wabi-sabi, which roughly translates as je ne se quoi. Fayer’s interest in Japan and its aesthetics is not incidental: She lived there as a child.

Fayer’s colors are marvelous, with lots of cream as well as strong tones that remind me of the lovely shades seen in a midsummer garden — or maybe in dresses at a garden party. These spring shades reinforce the undeniably feminine mood of the paintings and the atmosphere of the gallery. Owner Robin Rule said that after such a tough winter, with all the snow, she thought everyone was ready for something sunny and bright — like these Fayer paintings.

The Fayer show has been quite a success for the Rule Gallery from a business standpoint, with many of the affordably priced paintings flying off the walls and into the hands of collectors. With only a little over a week left to catch it, there’s no time to lose.

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