Renee Robbins‘ paintings, recently on display at the Union League Club, teem with rainbow colors and psychedelic beauty. Fantastical yet elemental forms splay across the canvas in a random fashion that recalls a microscopic slide. Bold, sinuous forms combine in complex ways, their tentacles and ganglia looking radiant and menacing at the same time.
The dominant forms have a literally visceral appeal. Presented against delicately patterned backgrounds that seem variously celestial or aqueous, they pose the question, where are we? Are we beholding the churning mysteries of the universe, an ocean, or a human gut? Are these imaginative depictions of an individual, a relationship, a community? The paintings combine scientific exactitude with fantasy, using an exuberant palette pulsing with energy and a language of forms reminiscent of a sophisticated high-schooler’s doodlings.
Is a ‘Crescent Tidal Bloom,’ for example, a good or bad thing? The three forms resemble friendly tropical trees, growing together at the tips in an organic embrace. Does their union represent strength, or a parasitic fecundity? Are they producing lush flowers, or dying as the flowers take over? Are they the essence of life or morbidity? Whatever the answers, the medium they thrive in is wondrous indeed.
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