David McDonald: Ikebukuro, 2009 Wood and acrylic

By Alice Ranahan

Not every gallery lends itself well to exhibiting three- dimensional work along side two-dimensional paintings and drawings, but Traywick Contemporary does it with ease. It must have something to do with the sculptural space itself, a creative remodel of a defunct Masonic temple in North Berkeley. Designed like a loft with open levels radiating off of the main rectangular room, the Traywick offers a variety of ways to exhibit art beyond the white cube environment of most standard fine art galleries.

It must also have something to do with the fact that this is not only a gallery, but also a family home with an open kitchen and tasteful furnishings, which the owner, Katrina Traywick, shares with her husband and two young daughters. So it is no surprise to feel comfortable viewing the most recent exhibition, 2-D/3-D, where sculpture is integrated into the architecture of the space, 2-D works are hung with consciousness about the scale of a wall or the furniture around them, and each piece is imbued with a sense of belonging.

This exhibition features works by Mari Andrews, Jessica Martin, David McDonald, Lucrecia Troncoso, and Aurora Robson. Each artist is represented by sculpture and paintings or works on paper, highlighting how two- dimensional and three-dimensional works can influence each other and offer a broader range of expression for a similar idea. A sculptural piece by Mari Andrews, made of wire and stones, is suspended from a corner of an open portal like a spider web that might be brushed away at any moment. On an adjacent wall hang two framed works made of wire and paper, suggesting something as delicate and organic as the sculptural work, but more intimate. The wire is as sensitive as a drawn line in all three pieces.

A row of vibrant and energetic blue “drawings” by Aurora Robson gain even more interest as we learn they are made from junk mail and ink and relate to the intricately constructed orb of recycled plastic bottles, monofilament and tinted polycrylic that dangles from the ceiling.

David McDonald Untitled #16, 2010 Acrylic and oil on paper

And David McDonald’s freestanding sculpture suggests architecture with the playful quality that children’s building blocks evoke. Their colorful elements stack and intersect in a combination of fine joinery with precarious balance.  His paintings on paper reflect the same kind of geometry and similar concerns such as how small forms connect to build a larger, dynamic construct.

In the end, the success of a show like 2-D/3-D, beyond the magic that the artists themselves create, has much to do with Katrina Traywick herself, who dares to transform her space into a living and shifting laboratory of sorts. In doing so, she inspires each of us to consider bringing something fresh and unconventional into our own homes, or, at the very least, to move our pictures around from time to time.

Now through September 18

Thursday – Saturday, 10 – 4
Traywick Contemporary,
895 Colusa Avenue,
Berkeley, CA 94707
Or by appointment

Alice Ranahan runs Alice Ranahan Art Advisory Services in the East Bay.

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