Daring painter's diverse work has broad appeal
By Cate McQuaid, Globe Correspondent | July 1, 2005
Exuberant and dark, Cristi Rinklin's paintings at Green
Street Gallery send the viewer somersaulting between worlds -- from digital
imagery to Baroque; from black-and-white to Technicolor; from deep murk
to eye-popping crispness. Rinklin is a voracious painter, with references
and stylizations that span centuries. She's also ambitious, cramming her
rambling imagination into a single canvas in many layers. In short, she's
a painter's painter, exhibiting technical expertise and daring. Even so,
the work is so bright, big, and lively, it will appeal to just about anyone.
Rinklin's source material includes fabric patterns, architecture, ruffles,
Rorschach blots, and organic forms. Many of them are often first realized
by playing on her computer; all are ultimately hand-painted.
''There's No Place Like Home" plays off Dorothy's conflict between
colorful Oz and black-and-white Kansas. It's a huge oval canvas, split
down the middle by a deep green-blue blot. Cell-like clusters in shades
of gray hover in and out of a drizzle below, creating a deep space you're
not sure you want to enter. Cartoon thought bubbles stem from the blot,
blanketing sections of the canvas in brilliant, glossy yellow and green,
injecting the rainy mood with sunshine. Rinklin's contrasts of tone and
texture exhilarate, and dramatically change the sense of space within
She executes the same maneuver in ''Cinerama," ringing a central
foggy gray scene of slippery amoebae with a shockingly crisp fuchsia ruffle,
which rises into Baroque architectural ornamentation.
The imagery is always on the edge of recognizable: you might see a jellyfish,
clouds, mountains, or a hand grenade. The meaning comes to you, but then
the ever-changing context snatches that meaning away. Rinklin intends
for you to get lost; she has said that her art is a way to explore how
the idea of infinity frightened her as a girl. Much about how she paints
can be frightening: the density of images, the haunting intangibility
of certain passages, the quick footwork of the changing elements. It's
these things, too, that make her work so good.
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