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Review: Color and light grace Philip Slein

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 10, 2010 - With Helene Slavin's "You are Here" and a selection of flower paintings by Jerry Wilkerson, the Philip Slein Gallery is awash in color and light this month. 

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Slavin has 12 large canvases splashed with luminous acrylic paint, creating veils of color punctuated by clusters of paint drops. The drops bleed and spread in minute capillaries, connecting with one another and creating intricate networks across the surface of the canvas.

While Slavin has been called an action painter, her works are anything but the product of freehand, spontaneous gestures.

According to her artist's statement, she generates them by throwing paint through cutout forms based on Rembrandt paintings, then allowing natural forces (gravity, friction, heat) to move the colors about.

Slavin is interested in everything from fractals to Dutch renaissance color theory, and it all informs her labor-intensive process; the results are paintings that appear effervescent and effortless.

Wilkerson's flower pieces -- paintings, drawings, serigraphs and a printed quilt -- show off the St. Louis artist's mastery of an idiosyncratic pointillist style. Their beauty is an enduring memorial to the painter, who died in 2007. 

Ivy Cooper, a professor of art at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, is the Beacon's art critic. 

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