Seeing Between the Lines

“Lines” Group Exhibition, July 2019


Line is the most basic and versatile of the visual elements.  It can be used to create shape, pattern, form, structure, space, rhythm and more.  Artists strive to make their lines expressive and to develop a distinctive quality of line.  They search for a unique manner of making and using line.  The ways artists resolve this search are as varied as there are artists doing good work, and this is evident in Touchstone’s July 2019 show.

Judith Giuliani,  Farm Lines

Judith Giuliani, Farm Lines

Rosa Vera,  There, There

Rosa Vera, There, There

Rosa  Vera’s painting There, There is a mixed media piece incorporating old maps within a central crouching figure.  Painted map-like lines are superimposed over the maps within the figure, and the figure is surrounded by smaller, rhythmic lines arranged concentrically around it, activating the entire ground.  This unusual and effective use of line both organizes the painting and conveys meaning, with the apparent reference to maps and the places they represent.

Gale Wallar’s woodcuts display a more traditional, and exquisitely executed, use of hatch-like lines used to develop forms – in this case the mountains, structures and trees in her two works Forest and Mountains and Forms.


Judith Giuliani uses bold, undulating lines to create space and movement in her painting Farm Lines.   The finer lines in this piece are important structural elements.  

Similarly, in Colleen Sabo’s painting Dock of the Bay two bold vertical lines that seem to be the abstracted masts of the boats in this work are also critical compositional players that hold the painting together.  Subtle vertical lines repeated across the left-hand side of the painting create an interesting rhythm and quiet energy within the overall atmosphere of tranquility in this piece.

Moving into the purely abstract sphere, Jeanne Garant is showing a painting that is all about line: Draw the Line I.   “I have a love affair with the stripe,” Garant says. This wonderfully crisp, fresh painting features bold monochromatic stripes interlaced with delicate graphite lines.

“Line is the appetizer and dessert in my work,” says Elaine Florimonte. “I use it to lay in the foundations and often as the finishing mark that grounds or emphasizes my compositions.  Lines are bridges and pathways through my more abstract works.  They give the viewer a tether to remain secured to when the painted spaces undulate.”  Line adds dimension, clarity and direction to Florimonte’s With My Brother and Sister Standing By.

Colleen Sabo,  Dock of the Bay

Colleen Sabo, Dock of the Bay

Jeanne Garant,  Draw the Line I

Jeanne Garant, Draw the Line I

Meg Schaap,  Tulipmania

Meg Schaap, Tulipmania

Elaine Florimonte,  With My Brother and Sister Standing By

Elaine Florimonte, With My Brother and Sister Standing By

Meg Schaap’s installation pieces feature line in more surprising and conceptual ways.  Cocoon is made out of plastic bags transformed into flowers and spun into a cocoon around the body of the wearer. Tulip Mania is made from torn books arranged into a wearable full-length dress.   Beneath the gorgeous costumes, especially in Cocoon, the viewer can see the essential armature that supports these pieces – a beautifully spiraling line of wire hoops that make it all possible.  But line is also woven into the surface of these works.  “With Tulip Mania, line is found everywhere in the dress, ‘the written line,’” Schaap says.

Visitors to Touchstone Gallery often comment on the great variety of styles of art exhibited by its artists.  That is borne out in the works displayed in the Gallery’s July 2019 show.  Lines is on view through July 27, 2019.

--Leslie Blackmon