Irene Zweig furthers the tradition of color field painting by creating a unique palette from her own abstract watercolors that are deconstructed into triangles and meticulously reformed onto wooden panels. The eye interprets the original message subliminally, while the construct of component triangles remains. The work also bridges American Impressionism, specifically pointillism. Contemplative harmonious balance is a constant in Zweig’s abstract paintings that loosely reflect land and water, and generally take their titles from classical music.
“The composition is an intellectual exercise as well as a foray into experiments with paint. It’s very thoughtful and intriguing. There’s incredible depth to [Zweig’s paintings]. Intriguing is the word that keeps coming to mind. When I saw a series [squares of sublimity] I was very taken with them. They’re both highly structured and very, very beautiful. Very evocative.”
—Marianna Shreve Simpson is currently on the faculty of the Rare Book School, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia. She was Curator of Islamic Near Eastern Art at the Freer/Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian Institution and more recently the Director of Curatorial Affairs and Curator of Islamic Art at the Walters Art Museum.
“Zweig’s paintings] are a kind of collage, but she thinks of them as paintings…really interesting. The work is really quite lovely…just fascinating work.”
—Bob Mondello is an American film critic. He has worked for National Public Radio since 1984 — where he is the arts critic, as well as film and theater commentator for All Things Considered, NPR's Award-winning newsmagazine. He has also been theater critic for Washington City Paper since 1987, and has written for such publications as The Washington Post, USA Today, and Preservation Magazine.
“I have chosen to award the Best in Show [Gallery West, 7th National Juried Show, Alexandria, Virginia] to Irene Zweig’s Calliope’s Robe. The artist has chosen mixed media to categorize it, but I immediately realized that the depth and breadth of the materials and technique were much harder to define. This particular piece has such intricacies that while it was a striking slide it was distinctly more effective in person. The images that flow from square to square of the quilted pattern seem to flow in subtle ways through the design. There is a floating ephemeral feel captured by both color and arrangement. It is mysterious and yet clear at the same time. The sharp edges of the cut quilt contrast and enhance the images simultaneously. It can be “read” in any direction or viewed as a whole.”
—Trudi C. Van Dyke is currently Director of the Ellipse Arts Center, Arlington County Cultural Affairs Division, and was previously the Director of The Torpedo Factory Art Center, Alexandria, Virginia.