Some dichotomies are annoying. Some are perplexing.
This one is, in a word, captivating.
Looking at Heather Gottfried's current show of paintings, at Apex Gallery in the Crossroads, it's easy to picture the works as taking shape over a span of years, developing a theme and patiently exploring variations on it.
Not so. The paintings were all created in 2011; as Gottfried put it at this month's First Friday opening, "I was a painting fool for a year."
That's where the dichotomy comes in -- because the works don't look rushed, or even mildly hurried. Pieces such as Fire Drops (above) are energetic, true enough, but each is also full of a deep, even meditative calm. That's reinforced by Gottfried's repeated use of the circle, a deeply centering symbol, as visual motif.
Gottfried's approach to creating her art also lends itself to meditation, calling to mind the work of monks in a vineyard or the creation of a Buddhist sand painting with no tools but the creators' fingers.
Everything in my life is heavily focused on texture, from my foods to my clothes to my choices of media, she writes. Just as there are certain foods that I will not eat due to texture, there are certain items I will not use in my art pieces because I don't like the way they feel under my fingertips. I sometimes do not use paint brushes, preferring the feel of the paint and other materials on my hands.
From her hands to the viewer's eye, that approach comes through with calming (and yet stimulating) clarity.