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Ani Hoover and Felice Koenig at Indigo Art Gallery

Artwork by Felice Koenig (above), and Ani Hoover (below right) and on view at the Indigo Art Gallery through October 1.


There is much commonality in the artworks of Ani Hoover and Felice Koenig on show at the Indigo Art Gallery. On the basis of the works, these women could be sisters. Twins. Though fraternal more likely than identical. The works have many common elements and features, but are quite different.

Both artists create meditative color fields of dots and circles, in meticulously crafted works that oscillate between paintings and sculpture. In both cases, the works are abstract, non-representational, but suggestive of representations, sometimes if only in the title, the representational concept of which can sometimes be read back into the artwork. But the abstract nature of the works makes them all the more suggestive of a multiplicity of meanings in various conceptual directions. Where the works differ is in the different conceptual directions.

Koenig’s paintings (that edge into sculpture) are composed of an infinite array of pointillist dots, and dots on those dots, that seem to refer basically to biological patterns. She has talked about her work as “skin paintings,” with reference to the translucent skin on the inside of the wrist. Skin as a surface, a cover, a casing, a material with minimal depth, great extension. But even more, I think, skin at a microscopic level, in terms of cells, the building blocks that make up skin. And more than skin and skin cells, evoking the cellular fluid the skin covers and contains, and that gives the skin at the wrist its faint red glow, blood cells, corpuscles. Entailing the concept of movement, activity, of the dots and circles, which if you stare at them long enough they will seem to begin to display.

Whereas Hoover’s sculptures (that edge into paintings) go in the macro direction, suggesting not so much biological phenomena as social. Ideas of community. The works are of several different types. Some are wall hangings of loosely linked rings of painted paper—so that the least breeze would stir them—hung about an inch from the wall, providing, in addition to the work’s own surface shimmer, a depth dimension of soft shadow and faint reflected color on the wall. Others are composed of plastic dots individually pinned to the wall with straight pins, or pinned together in clusters.

The linked paper circle works—linked with tiny plastic ties—suggest the structure of the human community. With strong bonds, with ample play. Variations on the theme suggest communities within communities, or in one piece the rending and subsequent mending of the social fabric, leaving a scar. The individually pinned dot works evoke more primal and mysterious modes and manifestations of social organization. The way flocks of birds in flight will suddenly veer and change direction as if as a unit. Maybe according to some more biological than social principle of organization. (Search on YouTube under the term “starlings” for videos of this—European, I think—species in vast numbers performing their amazing aerial acrobatics, creating dazzling visual patterns. The pinned dot works connect to all of this.)

Koenig has one anomalous—not dots on dots—work. Consisting of a few dozen amoeba-shaped separate pieces, painted in a colorful kind of Pollocky dribble technique. The work is called Psychopomps, which means conductors of the souls of the dead to the afterlife. Hermes—the Latin Mercury—was the major psychopomp. The separate pieces include souls as well as conductors, apparently. Only the ones in the front of the pack have eyes (which consist of dots on dots).

Koenig’s artist’s statement broaches such topics and considerations as the employment of obsessive gestures in the production of meditational artworks, and the resulting artworks as a record of meditational exercise employing obsessive gestures. Which is basically to say, her artwork as a record of the artist working quietly, “exploring possibilities.”

The Ani Hoover and Felice Koenig exhibit runs until October 1.

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