Art Review: Alexis Manheim: "Oh, Golly: New Work"

Looking at an Alexis Manheim painting, you want to jump into the canvas. You want to experience the primitive, dreamlike states she paints with so much verve. The playful shapes and colors are almost childlike — squiggles, blotches, ovals, shadings, and lines that originate from an active imagination. A timeline could be drawn from her work through Karel Appel, Wassily Kandinsky, and even cave painters, who share her sense of basic forms and outlines. Manheim, though, is a 21st-century artist who was educated at Stanford, listens to jazz for inspiration, and sneaks funny jet planes into her work, as in Painting Machine, where the aircraft speed up, down, and sideways across the contours of less-defined shapes. Manheim, who lives in the Bay Area, has as much fun with her paintings' titles (True Love Machine, The Art of Levitation, et al.) as with the paintings themselves. She makes abstract art for people who don't like abstract art. Her paintings are crowded with marks and colors, but they're inviting nevertheless.

 
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