It sounds like a tenuous theme for a group show: Art with blue in it. But “Azul,” which opened last week at Tacoma’s B2 Fine Art Gallery, is anything but shallow. Instead it dives to sophisticated depths, sailing smoothly over diverse genres and media and covering a surprisingly wide range of emotion.
What helps is the gallery’s subdivided interior space. Usually problematic for the kind of group shows B2 likes to mount, the space this time helps the theme, offering quite separate visual areas for the half-dozen artists involved and allowing each of them room for more than the usual cursory one or two works.
The front room is occupied by Francisco Salgado and Susanna Rodriguez, and dives at once into the moody depths of the color. “Emocion Azul,” by the Mexican-born, Portland-based Salgado, is this show’s poster work and for good reason: The contorted, bunched muscles of this nude, sculpted in plaster and covered with tiny twigs in a coating of cobalt, speak eloquently of despair, confusion, depression. Just three feet high, this figure condenses human suffering into a wordless essence, prickly and naked.
Around the walls the Chilean painter Rodriguez captures the inhuman ambiguity of the city in moody Cubist works. Her bluey-gray buildings jumble together against angular clouds like tombstones or ship masts, occasionally lit with a harsh pink sunset or an eerily green shot of light.
Most of the other artists are local. Read more »