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Between realism and abstraction

By GREG COOK  |  October 1, 2014

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CRACKLING WITH ENERGY Sverdlove's 'Ohashi Plants.'

The three-person show “Perspectives | Translations | Refractions” at the Wheeler School’s Chazan Gallery (228 Angell St, Providence, through October 8) includes Jeff Bertwell’s bland watercolor drawings of patterns that look like river stones or quarry walls, and Saberah Malik’s birds and stones and (maybe) hearts sculpted out of organza, which feel too precious, but there’s potential for magic here.

Check out Laurie Sverdlove’s vivid oil paintings of cacti, wildflower meadows, weedy patches, and lily ponds blossoming under (what look like) nets or pergolas or cracking up geodesic domes. She paints them hot, with neon yellows and pepper reds and lots of lines that zigzag or snake around, crackling with energy. On her website, she says she’s “fascinated by the violence and cataclysms of nature as well as by the environmental destruction caused by humans.” I registered something strange going on — but it was more like someone staring at her garden and imagining feral alien worlds.

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