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Work reviewed by Theo Konrad Auer at Oakbook

September 3, 2009

September 3, 2009
The Month Ahead in Oakland Art by Theo Konrad Auer

“Narangkar Glover is one half of the husband and wife team that run the great and uncommonly consistent and innovative Oakland artspace Rowan Morrison in the Temescal neighborhood. What many regular attendees of their openings might also know is that she is an accomplished painter working towards furthering the work of The Bay Area Figurative Movement as her studio abuts their exhibition space. Her strongest work, for me, has been her embroidered works that are deeply insightful – strong works rivaling her own skillfully and thoughtfully rendered paintings. I recently had a chance to interview her regarding this work and here’s what the artist had to say about the process for these pieces that she would be happy to point out, I’m sure. “Process-wise, my embroidery is informed by Crewel work, and this particular piece is inspired by the Abigail Pett bed-hanging, which is a Jacobean tapestry from the 18th century. It currently resides in the Victoria and Albert museum. And with this piece, I’ve incorporated painting on to the fabric – it ties it into my own practice, and sort of brings the medium up-to-date,” she said. “Earlier this year I experimented with some techniques involving painting or sizing the actual needle-work and it just kinda got mucked up, so I decided to stick with keeping the two separated on the canvas.

“For Ms.vGlover, painting is  “…both a study in history and and introspective practice.” And it shows in her works. Hers is a body of work that captures the relationships of materials, of moments tied to place, of the tension and interrelationship between people, places and things. The well used and time worn skatepond is the subject of some of her works, the hallmark of an artist for whom a particularly personal aesthetic is key. Asking her about her relationship to the use of material, Narangkar had this to say: “…I musn’t ever negate the relationship to the materials, and how integral it is. Oil paint is visceral, and I’m thoroughly moved when I get right down to the nitty-gritty of the stuff. I like to work wet on wet – it’s a feeling of real involvement and presence. When I can say what I want to say in as little fussing with the medium, that moment in time is going to be conveyed successfully. The only perspective I truly have is my own, so I work with what I’ve got.  It’s what makes it universal. Empathy is, I guess, part of it, perhaps.

“In this work, narrative overshadows ever so slightly the figurative elements, making for an interesting and albeit gentle tension between the moment during and after. The nature of memory is what is at question here and as a subject it is a compelling and time tested one. Come to your own conclusions at the opening. The artist will be there and I imagine she will welcome any and all thoughtful inquiries into her process and aesthetic inclinations. The great thing about art openings is that they democratize the sometimes insular nature of the art world. There’s a reason, besides sales, that folks have them and critical dialogue is certainly one of them.