There is a definite street art feel to the blocky, highly emphasized brushstrokes of Pam Glick’s paintings and drawings. Marked by drips of paint, irregular geometric forms, highly saturated fields of color, and loopy, often nearly illegible text, it was no surprise to learn that Glick has previously been shown alongside the likes of Jean-Michel Basquiat, George Cond, and Christopher Wool.
“Thank You For Having Me,” a solo exhibition featuring Glick’s new paintings and works on paper, is currently up at Body of Trade & Commerce Gallery (BT&C Gallery). It features large scale and optically busy pieces. Glick’s works on canvas were the most interesting of the show and added the most memorable moments.
One painting of note is “Dowsers for Women” (2016). A coat of vibrant, semi-opaque chartreuse on the top surface of the painting partially obscures the entirety of the work beneath it. Geometric shapes and paint drips stack color and fields of brushstrokes one on top of the other in this painting. This creates moments of visual tension between an emphasis on the flatness of the surface and an allusion of three-dimensionality beneath it. Just as something slips into deeper focus, something new registers at the surface.
While her works are optically interesting alone, the titles of her art add an entirely different read. I was spending a considerable amount of time trying to decipher the light blue and pink text — a feat that seems easier to do until you try — on one of the pieces until I noticed the title: “Come on Mr. Frodo” (2016). And another: “Large Sums of Money Flow Easily to Me” (2015). Not always seeming to relate to the formal qualities in the work, Glick’s titles retain ambiguity (who is the “me”?), changing the overall content of the work’s meaning.
Overall, I found the works on paper to be much less interesting and a bit tried. Hung salon style and playing up the “anti-aesthetic” look of street art, these smaller pieces were comprised of scribbles, spray, quickly executed sketches, and lists and lines of text. Again, the titles of these were fun, such as “Belly Fat” (2016) and “Say Goodbye to Eye Bags” (2016), but I did not know what to do with them beyond that. Despite their punchy titles, they were easy to walk away from.
Describing her process, the show’s statement explains: “whether in advertisements on the subway, the sidebar on Facebook, or on informational signs in public spaces, Glick isolates unavoidable language in the contemporary visual urban landscape.” This process is in evidence throughout her work.
Glick’s art is visually beautiful, formally well executed and seemingly carefully planned compositionally, which made spending time with her work a pleasure. That being said, the show felt derivative, which is arguably a challenge for much contemporary abstract painting. That isn’t necessarily a problem — it is fun to look at.
What: “Thank You For Having Me” by Pam Glick
When: Through April 16
Where: BT&C Gallery, 1250 Niagara St.
Hours: noon to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday or by appointment.
Info: 604-6183; btandcgallery.com