Twining vegetal forms painted by local artist Sean Russell, now on display in the Winchester Cultural Center Gallery, are inspired by Clark County Wetlands Park, and remind us, despite our desert status, that we do have some verdant wet places quite nearby.
The majority of the works in the exhibit employ an enjoyable abstract plant mixture hovering between identifiable and expressionistic. Only two works diverge from that tactic with instantly recognizable landscape formats. A “Lone Coot” swims across the placid reflection of reed clusters, and city lights twinkle on the purple ridge in front of a setting sun in “Henderson Horizon.”
These landscape works convey a macro-microcosmic perspective of the wetlands experience with the more zoomed-in context of the other works. “Lone Coot,” in particular, wants some of the vigorous zest and color found in the more abstract works.
Streaking white dendritic forms in “Intertwine 1” throng like schools of minnows or eels circling in dripping darkness. Memories, like plants, burrow deep, seeking moisture and sustenance. Like the bulb of a camera going off peering into swamp waters, the tangled nest of “Bush” flashes with iridescent whites, greens and yellows. A riot of pink, green and yellow, pulsing with crimson and blue undertones, “Medley I” blends vegetation with aggressive abstract strokes.
The curling tops of ferns in “ Invasive Species,” daubed with buttery impressionist marks, proliferate within indeterminate space, roots searching for grounding. The organic explosion of “Medley 2” offers an aerial view of cattails, dragonflies, sticks, reeds, shooting up in a chaotic wetland jumble.
As if on cue, rainy weather arrived to accompany the opening of this wetland experience, inviting a tromp in galoshes to the gallery that is perhaps best followed by a rendezvous with the wetlands themselves.
Sean Russell’s show runs through Jan. 10 at the Winchester Cultural Center, 3130 McLeod Drive. http://www.clarkcountynv.gov