BOUNTIFUL –There’s beauty in the shadows.
Tom Rogers’ latest exhibit, now on display at Lamplight Gallery in Bountiful, explores that beauty in scenes that are starkly colored but richly detailed. The exhibit ends with 2012, so there are only a few days left to take a trip to the darker side of nature.
The pastels in the current exhibit are largely black and white, focusing on the play of snow, water and moonlight over the surrounding darkness. It’s the play of shadows and light that are the real focus, with trees and rocks mostly rendered as negative space that captures, alters or reflects the light.
The best example of this, and the most beautifully executed work in the entire collection, is “Moon and Sea Shore.” Ghostly white moonlight serves as the painting’s only real color, but it delicately outlines the leaves in the foreground tree and makes them seem almost touchable. Everything the viewer knows about them comes from that outline, but it’s all the information you need.
In “Sky’s Mirror,” the ocean is nothing more than reflected light on dark water. The white streaks of moonlight, however, are flowing and detailed enough to impart a wonderful sense of movement to the water. You can almost see the waves rise and fall.
There are occasional accent colors, but they’re best used when they seem almost like an opalescent shade of the darkness. The colors enrich the painting, but are subtle enough that they add to the overall balance rather than throwing it off.
In “Pristine Pathway,” the brown line of trunks and the faint bluish tinge of the snow give the scene an important sense of dimensionality. In “Frozen Stillness” and “Sky’s Mirror,” the blue highlights in the sky serve as an important counterpoint to the nearly black depths of water in the foreground. It also emphasizes the sense of chill that almost seems to leak out of the paintings.
Occasionally, it seems as though Rogers doesn’t trust himself. Yellow dominates “Let There Be Light,” presumably imparting the sense of light suggested in the title. The whiteness in the distance, mixed with a wonderfully crisp blue-black, spill more than enough light onto the scene.
In the end, though, his journey through the darker, chillier side of nature is mesmerizing. Even better, you don’t need to bring your coat.