Lemon Sky

Lichtundfire’s “Lemon Sky” show

Lemon, or gold–in essence, yellow–brings forth connotations of brilliance, wealth, and youth. Gallery director Priska Juschka at Lichtundfire conceptualizes this powerful color, yellow, as an extreme statement in chroma–and it dominates unyieldingly. Yellow is aflame as it pierces through our surroundings and remains an unforgettable hue in our recollection of imagery. On an existentially (subconscious)unconscious level, I believe, we all revere, and yet fear, yellow, as it is the color associated with the sun. Our very existence was borne of the yellow star we know as the sun. A sun that keeps us alive but also could do grave damage to our world–and ultimately–will consume our planet: as a whole.

Yellow, in my estimation, is the primary of primaries.

“Lemon Sky” installation view, 2023.

The impression of the memory of a chromatic scale arranged as an emotional abstraction is what Vian Borchert’s four paintings “Lemon Zest,” “Limoncello,” “Transcendent,” and “Lemon Sky” convey.  We might experience an ongoing biography in quarters, as each painting could represent a decade or so of the artist’s life–as we might see this life in its development, in the compositional shape of colors. The yellow in each picture is strategically placed, indicating the level of awareness and wisdom the artist had at that point in life. The yellow, representing the actual true self’s identity, could indicate the location of that true self within the boundaries of the artist’s perception, as manifested within the boundaries of the painting itself.

Joyce Pommer’s “Paper & Fabric,” a mixed media work with acrylic and collage, presents what could be imagined as a distorted family genealogy. The yellow circles, inhabiting what appears to be a free-hand graph, surround the subtle indications of what could resemble people’s silhouettes.  The white patches within the graph make the viewer feel as if there was a deterioration of events, of memory partially lost. The yellow is a source of a resonant reference of time and familial stability (or instability)for us as well.

When juxtaposed with Philip Gerstein’s painting “Master Stroke” and Joyce Pommer’s “Paper & Fabric,” Sandra Gottlieb’s photograph “Vertical #20”, from her Seascape Series, and one of three seascapes in the exhibition, resonates of yellow at the horizon; this becomes alchemically realized when, within our outer periphery, we obliquely consolidate and harmonize the chromatic extremities of the flanking yellow dominant paintings. Refreshingly taken originally on 35mm slide film, the photograph’s implied texture and graininess are a procession into the vertical layers of the day, exploding into its full brilliance.

The warmth of the pink from the left side of Philip Gerstein’s “Flight From Egypt” gives a counterbalance to the jagged involvement of the right side’s tactility.  The very faint pink strokes at the middle bottom are the soft side’s answer to the very involved complexity of construction on the right side of the painting. The deep yellow becomes even more severe when occupying space with the pink. With this painting, we are presented with the irony of the space of the desert and the wandering of the (Semites) Israelites for 40 years, side-by-side. Within the seeming openness of the desert, there was borne the complexity of the world’s first monotheistic religion.

Martin Weinstein’s “Road Through Oaks”, “Evening Under Afternoon” essentially prioritizes the structuring, the arranging, and ultimately, the manifest of what is the Latin word memoria.

For Weinstein, the past is brought to the forefront. Memory is superseded, partially obscuring the present. The past advances, approaching, or rather, encroaching, upon what is happening in the now. In beholding these acrylic paintings–which are painted on layers of clear acrylic sheets, with some of them set at an angle, within a Plexi-box–we transcend the linear procession of time by being submerged and thoughtfully lost within the depths of simultaneity. Weinstein reevaluates the layers of memory to promote an intellectual, rather than the natural, hierarchy of visible reality.

This is why we see the road phantasmically appear in front of the tree rather than behind it. The memory of the road is the primary focus. It becomes the leader–of paramount perceptual importance–of this vision.

And then, there is the yellow: a spectral invitation, inspiration, transfiguration into otherness. The patches of yellow, when surrounded by shade, become almost as stars set against the cosmos. Squint hard, and you will see an image that is replete with nebulae, galaxies, in essence, deep space. The yellow accents in this painting, then, become our transport from the terrestrial to the extraterrestrial–and beyond. In all, Martin Weinstein’s memory transcends space as well as time. By freeing us of the traditional rules of depth perception, Weinstein also frees us from traditional impressions of geography and existence itself. We look at the image as we float in every aspect of being.

Victoria Lowe’s “Oracle Of The Islands” presents a musing of the heat of the red-hot Earth’s core as it becomes diffused, then saturated, onto the pigment as it inhabits the canvas. The piece has two sets of adjoined rectangular segments, forming a square top and bottom, connected by an LED light in the middle. The transitioning of yellow into the outer edges of each square painting infers an escape from the brilliance of yellow. However, I almost sense that the LED is a primary inspiration for the chromatic manifest in this piece. Its influence is, as previously stated, the molten core of the earth. In this case, the brilliant, electronically ignited red becomes the core impetus of the yellow; absolute red converts to a yellow transfiguration and then dissipates, cooling off, if you will, to the grayish blue terminator into the obscurity beyond the painting’s edges itself. Lowe, I believe, may see yellow–from an existential perspective–as red. The Islands are the continents of our world as the Oracle is the core of our world. The oracle’s offered truth is our very sustenance within our fiery base.

Our eyes visually negotiate through Augustus Goertz’s “Yellow Fervor Drop Cloth Universe” textures, almost garnering an impression of physical space. Almost. Yet, the duality of the dark spot and light yellow spot anchor, and at the same time, liberate our notion of that verge of a physical space. We simultaneously achieve the ocular sensation of terra firma and the celestial within the scope of our meditation. This becomes Goertz’s take on the duality of yin and yang. I view the yellow spot as casting its shadow in the form of the black spot, reminding us that yellow can be as irrevocably unflinching as black. They are of the same constitution–and Goertz juxtaposes this truth poetically and philosophically in his painting. With this yellow-black spot juxtaposition, Goertz also seems to indicate, for me, the secret agenda of yellow, in that, as stated in my introductory paragraph, it is the harbinger (as a reminder of our sun) of our existential consummation into obscurity: blackness.

Yellow illumines many incarnations of perception. In addition to its existentially underlying power of consumption, it is also, on a very basic level, pure, cleansing. Its participation on the chromatic scale is the place where color regenerates, rejuvenates, and reinvents itself, glowingly anew–glorifying these brilliant spectral miracles we know as colors. Yellow gives us the amalgam of the mind flexing its synaptic (and chromatic) muscles in presenting our existence.

To learn more about the show and the artists, please visit https://www.lichtundfire.com/lichtundfire-lemon-sky-show.