Anne Gilroyed

Executive Director, Nanaimo Art Gallery

Review: Roberta Pyx Sutherland's Internal Landscapes

"Pyx's sojourn on the west coast has been both kind and influential to her extensive talents. Her work grows and expands in ways that a true talent is always compelled to do. Using ragged remnants of rich hues, across colored fields, and painterly abstractions with allusions to nature, she expresses her radical sense of space, talks to us about where she fits into the scheme of things and expresses her inner direction.

The need for positive emotion in the world has never been greater than today. Positive emotional force emanates from these recent paintings and can be absorbed directly by the receptive viewer. If you are capable of suspending disbelief you can see aging skin mingled with slabs of rock, earth and sky. Pyx's works could, and hope to spotlight what is pivotal in the evolution of important contemporary art and the current milieu. The thoughtful viewer observes in this art a plethora of visual information and an articulated language of space, color, composition, and painterliness. In a typical work of this period she paints asymmetrical, emotionally intense abstractions that combine several styles and expressions in one picture; hard edge borders, hard edge lines, stacks of brushed smears, on a deep red field or dark layer of weathered material.

The viewer is quickly connected to these works. The theme of rough landscape, the technique of staining, smearing, calligraphy and articulate use of color have been streams of consistent interest in Pyx's work. These paintings create a dialogue resonating with meaning and power which, if nothing else, delve into and illuminate the mysteries of current styles, thought, abstraction, and spirit.

J. Whistler said of William Turner that he "ought not to have painted. He should have written." Pyx's treatment of her media has so much depth of character I want to say please continue to paint! . . . . but perhaps write as well."