pt. 2 Gallery is pleased to present Slow Tide, a solo exhibition of new works by the Oakland-based artist Kelly Ording. Slow Tide expands Ording’s oeuvre of dyed and methodically painted works through deep investigations in both landscape and abstraction. Ording’s second solo exhibition with the gallery demonstrates the artist’s exploration in scale and medium as well, featuring a number of large-format works and works on canvas.

In Slow Tide, Ording’s interests in geometry and color theory intersect with the imposition of an imposed domestic life in which routine and repetition became standard. The conceptual weight of these ideas and lifestyle manifest muted landscape and elaborate geometric abstractions. 

Ording’s work plays with control and order. In her works on paper, she juxtaposes the two with different techniques. Processing thick, homemade paper with dye, Ording leaves much agency to the material itself, responding to the deepening of tone and the implication of form. This letting go is reigned in with her fragile and precise linework in acrylic, her ineffable parallel straight edges and spirals rendered painstakingly by hand. 

In the painting on paper ”9.24 (Queenie)” a stark landscape emerges from dyed colors. Beneath a hazily lit sky, a few light hills rest upon a deep indigo plateau, reminiscent of the view of the Marin hills above the bay. Thanks to a number of crisp lines, the allusion of waves emerges on the indigo. Unlike Ording’s previous landscapes, these waves waver and shimmer erratically, the middle line defiantly rising vertically as it crosses the picture plane. Ording reflects on her shelter in place “And on the other hand, my mind has continued to imagine faraway places, days that don't blend into one another, new experiences. It's almost as though there is a separation between the physical body and the mind. The physical body is restricted, yet, the mind is able to wander.” As her landscapes veer towards the imagined, the artist’s lack of control is emphasized in the loosening of line and structure.

The dichotomy of surrender and control is furthered in Ording’s abstract works. Following a similar process, Ording paints mathematically driven compositions in delicate lines atop dyed surfaces. Beginning with simple lines or curves-often in the form of parallelograms or the letters U, C and O, Ording duplicates these forms, often repeated lines and curves in over a dozen parallel motions. At times, the forms waver microscopically, at others they border other images, and in some instances overlap additional shapes. The resulting images reveal the complexity easily achieved from humble beginnings and radiate with energy.

In their own ways, both Ording’s abstract and landscape work mirrors the 2020 experience. Her minimally colored landscapes, many of which have recurring compositions and seascapes “reflect that experience of the days in a lockdown, socially distanced days, repetitive days with only slight differences. A view slightly changing with the seasons, the position of the sun.” Her abstract works, which alter the familiar forms of line and curve into thought-provoking expanses of shape and color ”reflect the energy and imagination of the mind. The places your mind can go even if we're not able to go physically.”