Jim Bobick Creates Landscapes of the Mind at Gallery 101

A pervasive aura of calm seems to emanate from the paintings of Jim Bobick. Fifteen of them are now on display at Gallery 101, in the increasingly artsy Fort Lauderdale neighborhood across A1A from the Galt Ocean Mile, and they transform the tiny space. I wanted to hear very low ambient music playing in the background while I looked at the canvases, which inspire contemplation.

Bobick, a recent transplant to South Florida from Maryland by way of a six-year layover in New York, has absorbed some key influences in this current body of work. One, he has internalized subtropical sunrises and sunsets and made them entirely his own. That's not to say he actually paints them so much as he registers their sometimes seemingly incongruous color combinations.

Another influence is that of the color-field painters of the 1950s and '60s — Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, Ellsworth Kelly, Helen Frankenthaler — and the two great abstract expressionists who inspired them, Barnett Newman and especially Mark Rothko. Like those artists, Bobick rejects the illusion of depth in favor of broad swaths of color that are all about mood and atmosphere.

In Bobick's case, the densely layered horizontal bands of color embrace the idea of landscape more than any actual landscape, although he professes an affinity for the romantic landscapes of the 19th Century. His work is rigorously abstract, with even the faintest trace of figuration removed.

Such single-minded vision is not for everyone, of course, certainly not for those who insist on painting with greater narrative content. But there's no getting around it: Bobick does what he does extremely well.

 
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