Art New England August/September 2008 issue reviewed Georgina's show in the
Vermont Surpreme Court Gallery
during the Spring of 2008
One of Vermont’s most prestigious venues is neither a gallery nor a museum—it's the lobby of the Vermont Supreme Court building in Montpelier. Since the inception of its Art in the Supreme Court program ten years ago, many of the state's most well established contemporary visual artists have installed substantial exhibitions there. In May and June of this year, abstract landscapist Georgina Forbes presented a bold show of twenty-four stain-painted canvases entitled, Springing Forth, New Paintings from a Southern Odyssey. Forbes's art has been exhibited nationally for over thirty years.
Working flat, and with thinned acrylics in the tradition of Helen Frankenthaler and other post-painterly abstract expressionists, Forbes achieves similar weightlessness and luminosity. She nevertheless maintains horizon lines in most of the paintings, locales encountered on a recent East Coast road trip to Florida serving as points ofdeparture. Tidal Marshes is a thirty-two-by-thirty-four-inch canvas inspired by the coast of the Carolinas. Only the top fifth of the canvas resembles the landscape, with a cloudy gray sky and distant dashes of green indicating trees. The lower four-fifths of the painting are a cauldron of crimson and sienna. Acutely angled splatters fan upward from the work's bottom edge.
Red Delta was executed in wet-on-wet passages; with greater control, to create a more traditional composition. A clump of deep green trees appears on the left, midway up the fifty-by-forty-eight-inch vista. Forbes focused on gentle layering, rather than throwing liquid paint. Local color implies that it’s the portrait of a specific place.
One of the exhibition’s more abstract pieces is the forty-four-by-forty-eight-inch Pulse. It lacks strong references to the landscape, except for an unembellished diagonal slope at the top of the canvas. An almost violent red splash seems wedged into the picture plane between an indigo field and a fine yellow mist transcending naturalistic color. Pulse suggests that the act of painting is of greater interest to Forbes than simply describing mountains and fields.