The Discovery Museum and Planetarium in Bridgeport is pleased to present the saturated colors and vivid patterning of New York-based artist Gloria Garfinkel, showing in the Center Gallery, through November, 2017. Garfinkel’s works embed bright and colorful arrays into an animated geometry inspired by origami paper folding objects and techniques.
In Garfinkel’s paintings, colorful patterns are energized by mounting them on aluminum panels constructed so that they are able to be manipulated by the viewer. In addition to these panels, Garfinkel presents a number of maquettes of proposals for flamboyant triumphant gateways, influenced by Japanese forms, for public art.
In the range of work presented in this exhibition, Garfinkel continues her fascination with the wide variety of patterns to be found in traditional Japanese fabrics. She takes these patterns and juxtaposes them with others, creating fields of conflicting color that act on the eye in lively ways.
The most distinctive body of work presented in this exhibition consists of striped wall panels, fabricated in aluminum, with inset sections that rotate when manipulated by the viewer. Garfinkel has accommodated patterning to the optical potential of moving discs by processing patterns through mathematics, the basis of most of her pattern work. If one wishes to see a wilder arrangement, the viewer is free to rotate the disk of stripes until, either diagonally or horizontally, the stripes prod the horizontal with a different energy level.
Garfinkel’s introduction of viewer manipulation is novel: it is also derived from Japanese influence, where careful arrangement of forms in very particular ways is part of the aesthetic experience. In this synthesis, Garfinkel has devised a uniquely approachable and participatory form of wall art.
In Garfinkel’s Flip pieces, squares, diamonds and tondos are divided in half into planes of soft color again derived from Japanese prototypes. An inconspicuous hinge running down the center of the panel reveals an overlaid panel that can be moved on the hinge to cover over either half of the circle and re-present the overall circle with a new arrangement of colors. Garfinkel, in her painting, combines a keen sense of the energy emitted by colors arranged vis-à-vis other colors, with a grounded drive to realize physical-sculptural ideas in finely fabricated devices.