Art: Shape Shift: Recent Works

Martha MacLeish of Indiana University's Fine Arts faculty allows her work to break exuberantly into three dimensions in 'Shape Shift: Recent Works,' at Manifest Gallery through May 13. MacLeish's art, whether two- or three-dimensional, is concerned with

Apr 26, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Martha MacLeish of Indiana University's Fine Arts faculty allows her work to break exuberantly into three dimensions in Shape Shift: Recent Works, at Manifest Gallery through May 13. MacLeish's art, whether two- or three-dimensional, is concerned with “aspects that raise questions and create tension,” her artist's statement says. The thing she doesn't mention is the joyful sense of life these works convey, a bursting, vibrant delight of echoing forms and interacting colors.

Looking at this show on a rainy day, as I did, is like having the sun come out.

The colors, which appear mostly in narrow bands, are in-your-face bright, the painted ones glorying in being acrylic while others result from the lamination of colored layers. MacLeish works with sheets of polyvinyl-chloride plastic to make panels, hollow structures and solid forms that manage to suggest motion despite being fixed objects. Her work is a vindication of human-made materials, taking advantage of their inherent qualities rather than making them look like something else. This is accomplished by workmanship of the highest quality, so self-effacing that you're hardly aware of how well these pieces are made.

Shape Shift: Recent Works continues at Manifest Creative Research Gallery through May 13. Go here to read Jane Durrell's full review.