Thursday, August 09, 2001

"I See Rhythm" Michelle Wood - Indiana Historical Society - Aug. 9, 2001 - 3 stars

Various forms of African-American music are interpreted in the acrylic works by Wood. All of the pieces on display are originals from her book, I See Rhythm. "Jazz Women" is a piece achieved by collaging blue monochromatic action vignettes of portraits of ladies of jazz like Sarah Vaughan, together in one painting. African masked musicians carry a brilliant primary range of color as they sit among these female greats. The masked faces are a motif in many of her storytelling pieces, with unmasked faces sometimes taking on a tribal facial structure. Quick-drawn strokes of wavering, solid-colored stripes mix as they are cast across the paper canvases, creating genuinely inspired energy and adding to the atmosphere of the pieces. The paint is not pushed or overworked but is layered and easily, comfortably applied. "Ragtime" is perhaps the most sophisticated of the paintings by Wood, on exhibit with its simple flat blocks of solid color and patterns. These works effectively capture the soul of each musical style represented with a traditional African tribal aesthetic reflecting the musical derivation. Through September 3, 2001. 317-232-1882. - Mary Lee Pappas

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