Review of Rock Water Glass

What's not to like — neat drawing, nifty composition, fresh, clear color rising at times to the refulgent, Laura Barr hews to her plan of catching the place and moment where abstraction and representation meet. You can see her joyfully exploiting her sources and influences — Hockney and Wayne Thiebaud most notably. She swears by what she learned from Barnet Rubenstein in Boston. There is an affinity with Janet Fish, but maybe not a close one. Ms. Barr avoids crowding, keeping an open framework through which the forms of her tumblers can come and go.

Meanwhile her palette is on the move. The chromatic still lives of the terrace have given way to a much cooler color in the dining room, with, to this viewer, a decided gain in cohesion and impact.

The show is enhanced by the shift in format and style between the dining room works and those of the rotunda. The quasi-cubist interpenetration of forms, allowing for explorations of the play between the transparent and the translucent, are here replaced by a direct confrontation with the flat forms of the quarry reflected in water. Symmetry and flatness underlie the close observation of natural forms irradiated in a brilliant light. Ms. Barr avoids a facile parallelism — she wants us to follow her acceptance of nature's datum and makes it easy to believe that the abstract and the natural inhere in each other.

This is a splendid show by an artist whose career will be worth following.

— Bill Cobbett