TROY — The swirling lines and layered colors in Virginia Bryant’s work make for a meditative exhibition at The Chapel + Cultural Center.
“Practice & Composition” opens with 23 abstract drawings, some deceptively simple and others intensely intricate. In one, lines of varying thickness mimic the movement of smoke, the way it undulates with the push and pull of air. In another, calligraphy-like swirls and lines delicately pile on top of one another.
These black and white drawings, which line both sides of a hallway, were completed in the first decade of the 2000s, according to the artist’s statement. Each is a study of sorts, a preparation for what comes next, which in this case is a series of paintings, completed within the last year.
The color-filled canvases all surround a fountain at The Chapel + Cultural Center. The sound of falling water fills the space and is an ideal background sound for Bryant’s works, which feature fluid lines and dynamic colors.
At the heart of the room is a large painting (numbered “14”) filled with floral shapes and shades, anchored by two thick columns in the background. Nearby is a smaller canvas, though no less impactful. There’s something fantastical about the smoky and feathered lines in the vibrant blue, gold-yellow, and grey-colored composition; like it could be a scene from “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”
On another wall is a pink and purple-hued work, with billowing clouds of pearly white and a rich brown on top. In works like these (this one numbered “13”) Bryant proves herself to be a master of color, never muddling hues, but allowing each of them to show through.
In some of the paintings, one can see certain themes carry over from the drawings. They’re not carbon copies, more like cousins to one another. That’s perhaps especially true of the painting numbered “15,” which features a circular composition with rounded ridges edging the top of the canvas.
The movement in each of the featured paintings reflects the artist’s background in ballet and music. Bryant, a San Francisco native who moved to the area about five years ago, is influenced by everything from yoga to art history to comparative theologies.
“Painting is most clearly itself through its liquid manifestation as air is the carrier for music,” Bryant said in an artist commentary, “Rhythm, pattern and harmony move through water-based media as air moves through music. My practice is to paint compositions which are inclusive of infinite possibility, which is true freedom, harmonically balanced.”
The space and the exhibit itself are peaceful. Between the abstract artwork and the meditative sound of running water drowning out extraneous noise, those looking for a break from holiday or pandemic-related stress might find some peace in “Practice & Composition.”
The exhibition will be up through Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, at The Chapel + Cultural Center (2125 Burdett Ave., Troy). The gallery is open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. For a private appointment and more information, call director Kevin Krolik at 518-274-7793. For more information on the artist visit virbry.com.