Beverly Acha: In the Loop
Emerson Dorsch Gallery is proud to announce In the Loop, an exhibition of new paintings by Beverly Acha on view from April 30th to July 9, 2023.
Acha describes her process as a succession of improvisations, intuitively creating by absorbing and translating observed architecture, light, space, and the natural elements of her surroundings into line, shape, and color. Atmospheric and spatial, her paintings are slow and methodical sublimations of her surroundings. They capture the ineffable quality of simultaneous physical and perceptual experience by responding to the ephemeral elements of air, light, and form. Nothing is predetermined when she starts painting, instead, she works in layers, developing the compositions along the way in response to previous decisions. Seemingly disparate parts and fragments of experience ultimately come together and create a harmonious whole. In Acha’s own words: “Forms [in my paintings] touch one another, transforming and characterizing the spaces they inhabit. Their relationships are based in mutuality: forms respond to each other, existing as they do because of the other. My process parallels this mutuality.” She continues by saying, “I work on many paintings simultaneously so that often, decisions in one painting affect the decisions in another.”
A majority of the paintings included in In the Loop were started in late 2020 and early 2021, following Acha through various geographical moves—from Miami, Florida at the start of the pandemic, to Fishers Island, New York in early 2021, and then to New York City where the work was completed. Unlike Acha’s previous paintings, which are tied to one specific landscape, these works reflect the three locations, from the flatness, flora and heat of Florida and her childhood memories to the cacophony and speed of navigating New York City. The works operate as landscape and portal, with loops, circles, and petal-like forms as recurring characters. These layers of spiraling forms distort color, create depth, and hint at the layering of several spaces onto one another.
Distinct to this new work is a playful turn inwards to memories of places, moments, and sensations. The painting las Arecas (o esa luz deslumbrante) for example, is a response to Acha’s memory of the physical sensation of running between and hiding amid the Areca palms of her childhood yard. Similarly, as the title suggests, misterios del universo (las violetas de mami I) emerged from a decade of accumulated memories of her mother’s potted violets.
In other works such as misterios del universo (loop de loop) and gira (des-paH-si-toH, des-pa-ci-to) formal visual (and verbal) play supersedes specific memories. Looping forms and a pinwheel shape create a space for contemplation. In the former a hot entangled visual space of looping forms contains four cool tiny circles that appear to be circling around within the loops, suggesting handheld maze games, a tiny roller coaster, or a Möbius strip. While in the later, a gigantic flickering pinwheel or petal-like form seems to be either still or moving incredibly fast, flickering in the light, or translucent. These works suggest that both might be true, and are true if we collapse our sense of linear time.
Motifs related to time, landscape, and movement reappear throughout this work as hourglass forms, infinity symbols, shapes resembling musical notation, and flowers/pinwheels. Shapes also mimic each other the longer you look: a flower is a pinwheel, a circle is a sun, is an eye, is a spot on a butterfly. Circles move through the spaces of the painting like marbles, and other times function like pegs providing support, eyes, pulsating light, or periods/punctuation. These intertwined motifs become measures of time and space through their shift in scale, spatial relations, and repetition. Some paintings seem to magnify areas within other paintings.
Through a juxtaposition of small and large paintings, Acha invites the viewer to actively loop through the gallery space moving close and far, in and out—to meander, dance with the eye, look into these other worlds. Loops imply infinity; in a loop moving forward is also going back. As the title suggests, for Acha, being In the Loop is knowing through feeling and interest in the circularity of experience and time.
We are pleased to invite the public to the opening reception on Sunday, April 30, 2023, from 12 noon to 4pm.
The artist would like to give special thanks to Danny Greenberg and Luis Mejicanos for their invaluable support and generosity throughout the process of this exhibition coming together.