By Ann Nichols
Opening Monday at the Jewish Cultural Center Gallery, "Form and Space: Works by Austin Center and Lawrence Mathis" illustrates how two artists translate what they see into their paintings, drawings and sculpture.
"Each of these artists looks at space through filters," said Ann Treadwell, curator and program director for JCC.
Mr. Center filters space in relation to form and energy and, using this filter, creates sculptural clay pieces with his drawings and paintings as references. He begins a sculpture by throwing a functional vessel on the potter's wheel. Then, he turns the vessel upside down to make it nonfunctional and begins molding and tearing the clay to create organic forms.
"Each time, I try to push the material to the point of almost breaking it," he said. "I try to find that stopping place before all is lost."
Inspiration for his abstract drawings and paintings comes from interactions with people he meets. Mr. Center makes his own paint from egg yolks and pigment and lays in shapes of color as a jumping-off point.
Like Mr. Center, Mr. Mathis also begins his abstract and landscape paintings with an underpainting of patches of color.
"Lawrence and I are similar in how we begin our works, react to the colors and allow the painting to take on a life of its own," said Mr. Center.
Mr. Mathis "filters" his paintings with the eye of an architect by dividing space into units of color and abstract, but measured, space. His landscapes reference his native George and he has spent years observing and depicting its lakes, trees and mountains.
"To a large extent, I have internalized my locality and, as I work, I recognize various images from the landscape such as my uncle's pond, a river nearby or a point of land I admire," he said.
"Form and Space" continues through June 3. A reception will be held Thursday at 5:30 p.m.
JCC, 5461 North Terrace Road, is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday. Call 493-0270.