The Christopher Brodigan Gallery Archive

“Under, Above, Everywhere: Celebrating Materiality” by Deborah Barlow, Kay Canavino, and Ramah Commanday

The digital and the virtual have penetrated contemporary culture and consciousness, often resulting in a breezy disregard for the materiality that is so fundamental to life. The primary elements—earth, fire, air, and water, so essential to our sense of ourselves and the reality we share—are easily overlooked in the rush toward what is new, cerebral, entertaining, and ephemeral. And yet an awareness and respect for materiality is the very counterpoint needed to bring a sense of balance to lives increasingly lived in artificial realities.

“Under, Above, Everywhere” explores the many ways anyone can experience, express, and respond to the natural world. Three artists—a painter, a photographer, and a ceramicist—have comingled their individual methods and media to create a multidimensional celebration of materiality. Deborah Barlow uses paint to explore astral landscapes and patterns. Kay Canavino submerges her camera into the murky underworld of ponds to uncover the phantasms below the surface. Ramah Commanday crafts three-dimensional forms that echo the geologic processes that carve into the topology of the earth.

Seen together, these works invite viewers to engage with what is part of our everyday world but can frequently be hidden from view. This unabashed embrace of materiality—of the physical world as well as each work of art—offers a rich reminder of what is essential and meaningful.