Also: A mountain range in Spain inspires a Maryland artist, a 20-artist exhibit leans into a distinctive technique
Review by Mark Jenkins
February 9, 2024 at 6:00 a.m. EST
The upward thrusting shapes in Lynn Sures’s “Catalunya” don’t merely represent Montserrat, the mountain range that borders Barcelona. In her statement, the Maryland artist says the 25 pictures in her Pyramid Atlantic Art Center show were “generated from the sensibility of the mountain.” This claim is bolstered by her method, which has a geologic quality.
Made while the artist was on location, the abstracted renderings of the range (whose name means “serrated mountain” in Catalan) were executed with pigmented paper pulp, arranged on wet handmade paper in a method that resembles painting. Sures employed two varieties of pulp, abaca or flax. The former is thinner, fuzzier and more fabric-like; the latter is thicker and craggier, qualities the artist emphasizes by embossing curving fissures into the pulp. These fractures curl sideways through the pictures like fault lines in a landscape chiseled by wind and water.
There are lots of earth tones in “Catalunya,” but the colors are not strictly documentary. Sures also employs many blues and some red, as well as metallic gold and silver. Most of the pulp paintings are horizontal, as befits a landscape, but some are upright. Both formats emphasize verticality, even when that quality is offset by incised lines that meander from left to right. Whether seen as boulders, fingers or the teeth of a saw, the pulpy forms reach for the sky.