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Sunday, October 14, 1990
The New York Times

Two Sculptors Share Thorpe Gallery



ITS 15th anniversary imminent, Thorpe Intermedia Gallery, on Route 340 here, is celebrating with a show by Sister Adele Myers and David Weinrib that should be titled "Together Again." During the 1980's the artists collaborated as the gallery's co‑directors.

It was an unlikely partnership: Mr. Weinrib, a man of the art world with roots in Manhattan as well as in Rockland County, and Sister Myers, a nun in the Dominican convent that houses the gallery: it worked well and is sorely missed now that Thorpe has changed its program to residencies—three or four artists a season with a solo show for each as a finale.

Still, eggs must be broken and the omelet in this case was Sister Myers’ career as an artist. Once a figurative painter with an expressionistic tilt, she has since become an abstract painter‑sculptor with architectural tendencies. The shift dates back to the 1970's, although it may have been encouraged by the association with Mr. Weinrib, whose sculpture also has an architectural bias.


Sister Myers expresses a fondness for cement in her catalogue essay and demonstrates it by making it the foundation for her paintings in fresco and by giving it more than equal time. In two seven‑foot‑ to eight‑foot‑ steles, the fresco consists of two small orange‑and‑white stripes but the cement is vigorously raked and modeled. And, as the show proceeds, it becomes clear that the artist prepares her surfaces with her paintings in mind: the contrast between the cement's dun tones and the fresh‑as paint paint is as important as that between rough and smooth textures.

One of the best works is a vertical group of four slabs about 14 inches square, each of which contains a variation on a chevron painted white over pink, blue or yellow. Incised or raised, the shape is perfectly balanced against the unpainted areas on either side. In the horizontal row of tablets nearby; the artist varies the color‑ of the cement and alters its texture with gravel, and in one instance, builds it up into a relief against a background painted white.

As the artist herself notes in a catalogue essay, her work comes in two forms, one intuitive, the other conceptual. An example of. the first is "Red Badge of Courage," an automatist blur of thin greens. The image seems not entirely unpremeditated, however, for the ground is obviously cleared for it.

Conversely, the geometric "Nasu" is not without its happy accidents. This is a pair of white chevrons shaded with orange and merged illusionistically with a third, inverted chevron. The planning is evident in the emblems' hard edges and in the texturing of the surrounding areas. But what insures its success is the contrast between the precision of the symbol and the' casualness of the block's irregular seven sides.

Sister Myers does well in both modes but she is at her best when taking command of the situation. Her geometry — and there is more of it than there was in her show in Woodbridge, N.J., two years ago — has a military air about it that is very bracing, indeed: Rockland mad have lost Thorpe's exhibitions but it has gained an artist with considerable talent and ‑ equally important ‑ drive.
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