Friday, April 2, 2010


Santa Barbara News Press, March 2010
"Fuzzy Visual Logic" by Josef Woodard

Julie B. Montgomery creates painting that literally blurs the lines between abstraction, realism and allusion, as seen in a sensual exhibition at the Frameworks.

In the paintings of Julie B. Montgomery now at the Frameworks/ Caruso Woods Gallery, one detects a distant ripple to the aesthetic gospel according to impressionism, set in the service of a personal vision. In her sensual and visually massaging pieces, canvases operate at an interesting juncture between abstraction and pictorial allusion.      
We sense a connection to the known world, but as seen through the perceptual gaze and filter of a style that softens edges and reduces real world elements to discreet forms swimming in some cosmic middle space. Hers is like a squinting take on the world of light and dark forms we live in, via an ultra-soft focus offshoot of realism. Or, if you like, she's an abstractionist with more interest in pure visual sensation than the outside world. Either way the art works, and woos.

Montgomery's canvases come in assorted shapes and sizes (emphasis on "shapes"). Larger canvases in the gallery include the innately cool "Blue Evolution" and "Grand Ochre" with its scrubbed golden aura and seeping drips emanating from the seemingly overheated objects, fuzzily represented.

By contrast, the "Evolution Series" is a mosaic-like set of 18 square paintings, 8"x8", like a set of dream time postcards with all the details rubbed out. Still, we sense ghostly hints of palm trees, wavy horizons lines and figures making their presence known.  On the back wall of the gallery, there hangs a triptych called, "Sixth Season" with a mystical wash in keeping with the paintings title.
With the beguiling canvas called, "Metamorphosis in Blue II," which vaguely evokes as assembly of architectural forms set before distant mountain contours, the palette expands from Montgomery's typically more two-tone approach to each piece.  The broader color spectrum is only subtly more dramatic, but subtle changes and variations make an impact when the aesthetic code is so carefully and successfully tended.

Little things matter in art with such quiet, contemplative dignity. In the end, Montgomery's art achieves a transcendental effect by establishing a connective bridge between the artist, the world and the viewer, and the sure but mysterious spaces linking them.

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