Big Pink Vase, 20×15, Monoprint
Line, shape and color perform a freestyle display of diversity in Becky Street’s exhibition Just Enough. With this lively collection of monotypes, Street explores the many possibilities of color, shape and line in her depiction of bowls, bottles, and vases. Here, lines create a shape, swerve near an edge, jab at a curve, and transgress edges. Shapes stand alone, are paired, floated. anchored, and joined with fellow shapes. Color creates shape, encloses a shape or decorates a shape. Lines are smooth, rough, tenuous and bold. There is sometimes a suggestion of depth–the subtle placement of a shape on a horizontal plane or the weight of color enclosing a shape and pulling it forward.
Grids give the opportunity for interplay between edges, while brush strokes, brayer stokes, and simple chine colle provide a restrained textural element. Despite this diversity, the work is spare and has a somewhat contemplative aspect. In these pieces every line counts. Every space matters. Street says the most important part of her work is knowing what to leave out and when to stop. She allows us the pleasure of looking, undistracted by visual noise.
Enjoying the formal aspects of these prints is clearly enough, but Street gives us more–objects from her personal collection. She imbues them with life and personality. She writes in her statement; they are like characters in a play, always rehearsing each new scene. Bowls, glass bottles, apothecary jars, pitchers and ceramic vessels are among the cast. She has observed and depicted these objects many times over and it’s as if by her close scrutiny they have become animated, more magical than fanciful. They are in turn solemn, flirty, reticent and jolly. Needless to say, these prints have plenty of heart as well as formal rigor.
Simplicity is hard. it takes doing and doing over to get it right. Drawing isn’t really that difficult. Drawing a line filled with life is another matter. With this collection of monotypes, Becky Street does in fact give us just enough.