By Ed Goldman
In describing the fulfilling and downright eye-slaking new show at Archival Gallery, it’s tempting to call it “The Torso—and More So.”
Featuring new sculptures by Eric Wyss (the torso) and paintings by Terry Baxter (the more so), who I’m told have been friends for decades, the show fits comfortably in the airy exhibit space on Folsom Boulevard between 32nd and 33rd streets. The show runs until June 30, with a June 11 Second Saturday reception. Check out a preview at archivalgallery.com.
Archival’s setting offers viewers plenty of room to step back or closely hover without bumping into each other, an amusing but potentially lethal hazard in galleries that try to jam in as much work as possible in sometimes rigorously claustrophobic settings. Somehow, even at large group shows, founding owner/curator D Oldham Neath manages to create the illusion of expansive arm- and legroom. (It should be added that Oldham Neath was one of the founders of Second Saturday, was for years KVIE’s art curator and on-air auction host and can currently be seen on CBS Sacramento as its resident Art Lady.)
Wyss’s substantial ceramic pieces vary in color and temperament. At first glance they almost give the impression that someone broke into a mannequin factory after dark and decorated the dressmaker torsos—some with bold color lines that emphasize the body’s collection of ribs and ridges, a couple wearing what appear to be 17th-century tricorn helmets. None of the sculptures is less than compelling: it’s reassuring to take in the show of an artist whose work displays career-long self-confidence.
Equally masterful are Terry Baxter’s semi-abstract paintings which, like Wyss’s work, vary in size and pallete. Branding his latest works as “Reflections,” Baxter appears to make color choices informed by how much the eye is willing to take in at a single glance and then to draw you closer to happily discover just how many hues are layered into and onto the painting.
Baxter says that in his professional career he’s “had the privilege of being a classroom teacher in high school and community college throughout California…. Mostly what I taught was Drawing and Painting, but there was a smattering of History and a bunch of Literature thrown into the mix. There was even a brief stint working on a statewide policy committee for Delaine Easton’s ArtWorks Task Force. But, really, I have been a classroom teacher.”
Not surprisingly, younger artists and seasoned collectors will find this very enjoyable two-person show to be equally intuitive and instructive—which is to say, This is how you make art, folks.
Ed Goldman wrote a daily column for the Sacramento Business Journal for eight years, often about the arts, and in 2019 began a thrice-weekly online column, The Goldman State, which now has readers in 28 states.
He has been an art collector, painter and cartoonist for 50+ years.
Explore more from Ed Goldman at goldmanstate.com.