Homare Ikeda: “Revisit” & Nancy Lovendahl: “Intercessions”

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Intercession 13 (YANG)
2014
Nancy Lovendahl
Limestone, Yule marble, UV balanced epoxy resin
68″ x 22″ x 10″
Photo: courtesy William Havu Gallery

The William Havu Gallery reliably puts together some of the best exhibits in the Mountain Time Zone, and the current duet is the latest proof. For their September offering, Homare Ikeda’s solo, “Revisit,” made up of his signature abstract paintings, has been installed together with Nancy Lovendahl’s solo, “Intercessions,” comprised of small versions of her enormous earthworks. Ikeda was born in Japan and came to Colorado via California in the 1980s. After a short time in Boulder, he moved to Denver and was almost immediately hailed as a cutting-edge abstractionist. Ikeda’s approach to picture-making is decidedly not Japanese, despite his having begun his art training there. Whereas the Japanese aesthetic is known for its simplicity-a single brushstroke is used where many could be expected-Ikeda standardly takes the opposite tack, embracing a more-is-more technique with his paint and brushwork. Even the title of the show-“Revisit”- is a hint concerning his methodology, with Ikeda “revisiting” the same painting over and over again, sometimes spanning a course of years, resulting in the extremely dense compositions he prefers. The surfaces of his pictures are crowded with pictorial elements and sometimes covered in lines, with the whole thing done in a range of finishes from smooth to scabrous. They’re unforgettable and look like nothing else.

This unique character makes it all the more remarkable that Ikeda’s paintings work so well with Lovendahl’s equally idiosyncratic sculptures-but they do. Lovendahl, who lives and works in Snowmass near Aspen, has also been a key player in the contemporary art scene in Colorado since the 1980s when she moved from the Midwest. Inspired by the Rockies, Lovendahl often uses shards of stone, or chunks of rock, sometimes completely unaltered, at other times cut, polished, or in some of these most recent pieces, embellished with touches of UV balanced epoxy paints that are applied to the natural surfaces. The results are non- objective, as in Intercession 13, a stack of limestone blocks, covered in bright blue epoxy, with a sheet of marble stuck on top, or Intercession 17, a scorched post surmounted by an orb of polished calcite. The awkward approach to compositional balance, in which the various elements seem to be about to come apart, is seen both in Ikeda’s paintings and in Lovendahl’s sculptures, thus beautifully linking the distinctively different bodies of work to each other.