James Massena March’s current show at BAYarts is, in his words, Op-Expressionism, bringing together abstraction and combining the geometric and intuitive.
March combines the techniques of abstract expressionism, geometric abstraction and Op Art, a painting style developed in the 1960s that uses geographical shapes to create optical effects.
“My paintings are about space, form and energy,” March said. “I generally start painting without preconceived notions as to the final outcome and build space through a series of constructions and destructions.”
March’s display is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday until Aug. 6 at the Sullivan Family Gallery.
March is interested in spatial relationships that lead to a feeling of a comprehensive whole, giving its own energy. He also is interested in linear movement and visual paradoxes.
His work often begins with large palette knives and brushes to build an expressionist foundation, then he builds on the relationships created through chance with geometric shapes and optical techniques.
“I do a great deal of my composing on the canvas, and never know what I will wind up with until I am done,” March said.
Karen Petkovic, artistic director for BAYarts, said March’s art is well known in the Cleveland area and across the country. While he has been on juried exhibitions before, this is his first solo show for BAYarts.
“He describes himself as an expressionist,” Petkovic said. “(He) combines regular modern op-art, which would be kind of the really graphic stuff that is the second layer of the paintings underneath. It's a little bit more impressionistic.”
Petkovic remembers 12 years ago when the gallery would “pound the pavement” looking for artists, but the gallery is currently filling out its calendar for 2023.
“It's just a wonderful space for all kinds of work,” Petkovic said. “I think James in particular, his work just really responds to the vibe of the gallery and really looks perfect in there.”
The next show, “We Not Linkin’” by Davon Brantley, opens Aug. 13.
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