Breaking The Rectangular Rut

Who was the person who decided, centuries ago that rectangles were the preferred way to present information? Books, newspapers, TV screens, computer screens, movie screens, all rectangles. Posters, photographs and paintings, too, are almost always rectangles.

The show at Spectrum Gallery in Essex is a fun diversion. "Out of the Box" challenged artists to make artworks that broke out of the rectangle rut.

Margaret vonKleist Emond embraced this challenge enthusiastically, with mixed-media creations that seem to jump off the wall. "Blue Nude in a Rocket Ship" is all jagged edges, and "Silver Rain" is designed to resemble a six-foot-tall splat of water. "Asian Pear Martini" is a pays homage to a delicious cocktail, "the first taste became that perfect moment."

Richard Malinsky's vivid acrylic-painted canvases hang on the wall like crumpled rags on the floor of an artist's studio. Amy Hannum created a wall full of oval-framed Spirograph designs that, from a distance, look like eyeballs. Viktoria Sivigny's brightly dyed burlap strips spew off the edges of a canvas. Rick Silberberg makes found-object constructions with fishing line, spindles, little animals, wire and branches. He writes in his artist statement "the possibilities are limitless when anything can be utilized and the whole thing need not be contained in a rectangular noose."

In addition to unusual shapes, curator Barbara Nair is showing sculptural work of unusual materials, such as Hannum's encaustic-covered cotton, Ashby Carlisle's sliced-up books, Pam Erickson's raffle-ticket quilt and David Corsini's constructions made from hubcaps and copper tubing.

Other artists are Carol Watson, Jack Alberti, Michael Bobbie, William Vollers, George Fellner, Jonathan Steele, David McCarthy and Tom Kretsch.

"Out of the Box" is at Spectrum Gallery, Main St. in the Centerbrook section of Essex, until Sept. 28. http://www.artscenterkillingworth.com.