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Sunday, July 24th, 2011

Jane Fine in MELT at the Tang

Jane Fine, Battlefield IV, 2004, acrylic and ink on wood panel, 30 x 24 inches. ©2011 Tang Teaching Museum.
Jane Fine, Battlefield IV, 2004, acrylic and ink on wood panel, 30 x 24 inches. ©2011 Tang Teaching Museum.

Jane Fine’s Battlefield IV, (2004) is one of several striking works currently on view in MELT, at Skidmore’s Tang Art Museum, in Saratoga Springs, New York (Bernard Cohen, Salvador Dali, Mary Frank, Rico Lebrun, Charles Long, Alexander Ross, Dieter Roth, Frances Simches, Davor Vrankic, and Kevin Wolff are the other artists on view, some represented by prints in the museum’s permanent collection.)  This group exhibition, organized by Tang Associate Curator Rachel Seligman, is based on a somewhat dubious thematic premise, however, as it gathers works loosely characterized by ambiguity rather than the transformation from solid to liquid suggested by its title.

Fine’s painting, for instance, is made up of swathes of flatly applied acrylic paint, grays, pink, and various greens and blues that interlock and form an abstract landscape that avoids associations with the natural world, while maintaining a certain organic asymmetry. This backdrop to the imaginative ink drawn forms is equally reminiscent of a map such that the difference between a specific terrain and a symbolic representation of one is often blurred. The drawing motifs covering the painted segments, in blue, black, and red inks, include abstract phallic shapes, cartoon like renderings of bullets or missiles being fired, barbed wire that resembles orthodontic braces, bricks, a prominent target shape, and globular forms. All of these symbols interact in a mysterious way. We have no idea what is going on between these alien shapes or where they are located, but they suggest violence and willfulness, albeit with a dash of humor.

The exhibition remains on view through September 18, 2011 at The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, 815 North Broadway?Saratoga Springs, NY 12866