Lauren Olitski Poster, Susan Roth, Ann Walsh, “Color & Edge”

Sideshow Gallery, 319 Bedford Ave, extended through 5/20

By Sarah Schmerler

At the heart of this raucously colored, bumptiously optical show there’s a longtime (more than 30 years) friendship between the three women artists participating. Add to that equation the decade-long association of Sideshow gallery director Rich Timperio with one of the artists, and you know you’re in for lots of solid experience. But do the works get along? Timperio took a chance that they would when he gave the exhibition the green light a year ago, and it paid off. What’s more, he’s made very good decisions about where to put what.

Lauren Olitski Poster’s "Pine, 2012" (acrylic, cotton, and all rag paper on canvas). Photo courtesy of the artist

Ann Walsh’s intensely chromatic floor sculpture in thick stripes of blue, orange, and red Block (2012) holds the front room like the black slab from 2001: A Space Odyssey, giving off an optical “buzz” as intense as that famed monolith’s auditory one. Lauren Olitski’s tree at the center of Pine (2012) takes on a human-like pathos as it leans sharply to the right, as if bowing in worship. Susan Roth’s Magic Flute (2011) has fabric with fan-like ripples down the middle, and most all of her canvases break out of their rectangular boundaries with little, unexpected bulges. In short, all the things on display here fit, but don’t conform, and that’s a nice kind of balance for a three-person show.

Ann Walsh’s "Miss, 2011" (vinyl on plexiglass). Photo by Robert Puglisi

It’s impressive that, given all the history in the room, the artists chose to show only work made in the last three years. You might also be impressed to learn that Olitski is the daughter of famed abstract painter Jules, but take that as anecdotal, at best. The most important relationship here is the one that exists between the works. Heck, if more families got along this well, the world would be a better place.

Susan Roth’s "Magic Flute, 2011" (acrylic and canvas). Photo courtesy of the artist