November 29th, 2018
Drift and slope. William Swanson’s new paintings are deceptively easy to like. His exhibition “Florascape,” at Eleanor Harwood Gallery through Dec. 15 (1275 Minnesota St., S.F. http://eleanorharwood.com), feels a bit like a walk through a mirror universe to ours, a place where nature is somehow mathematically rationalized.
The 6-foot-wide “Alumina Drift” takes center stage among 11 semi-abstract landscapes that fairly glow with a light of crystalline purity. It sets us at the edge of a vast scene of mountain and lake — a vista of what lies before us and also, impossibly, above us, held aloft by a network of misty ribbons. In “Operational Slope” we glide among structures made up of no more than lines and wings, above a broad valley.
An implied grid underlies every picture, bringing rigid structure to what was wild. To propose that the world can be so controlled is not the same as to say that it is safe.