by Laura Bien
Arguably Ann Arbor's most unsung fine-art gallery, Washtenaw Community College's GalleryOne outdoes certain downtown galleries on several points: scads of free parking; a refreshing absence of self-important hype; an airy, inviting food court just outside, in which to people-watch while nibbling a postexhibit tidbit; and intriguing shows, such as Kate Roesch's current exhibit of monoprints and paintings.
Seven giant, vivid paintings give the strongest first impression, but Roesch's twenty-five prints make the viewer pause longest. Soft charcoal-like smudges; thin, wavery lines; and liquid, streaky brushstrokes form a textural-salad novelty that prolongs the gaze, allowing Roesch's evocative imagery to sink in.
In her abstract series Skyscapes, a milky cloudlike form floats in blue above a cool swath of meadowlike green. Colors shift from print to print, but the basic shapes and the peaceful, quiet mood persist. I felt like running out onto the green meadow under the silent cloud. I was unsurprised to find that several prints from this series were already sold — before the show's official opening.
The print Memory of Water shows a smiling woman in a red dress, hands clasped behind her, on a sinuous riverine path that snakes into the distance under a haze of brush or smoke. The vague cocoon-baby form next to her is what draws the eye. Drawn in outline, in contrast to the woman's distinct, sun-washed features, this ghostly pupa-baby seems to hold out one unheeded arm to her. It's spooky, suggesting a lost child or childhood, perhaps willfully ignored by the smiling woman.
Another six-print series in blue, green, black, and white centers on a rocklike form. May Rains shows what seems like a foamy waterfall in a green fjord. In Tumble, blue boulders drift upward despite gravity. A particularly pleasing work, Rain Stone, is nothing more than a rectangular black rock in a delicate blue-green mist.
In contrast to several paintings of color blocks such as Island Shadows (left), Untitled: Yellow offers a glowing yellow haze
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