Finding Satisfaction Through The Layers

The first install in a series of three openings at J. Cacciola Gallery has left me more intrigued by the concepts of these three serial exhibitions rather than the first solo show itself. Not to discredit Danielle Frankenthal’s very literally titled “Seeing Through” show which opened on January 3rd 2013.The gallery’s three in a row exhibitions explore the diversity of paintings and the journey from abstraction to figurative. Of course the journey of painting far exceeds that amount; it is a constantly meandering and ever-changing itinerant voyage. 


Embarking onto a Poetic Journey


The works consisted of acrylic paint on three layers of plexiglass, all layered over each other resulting in a translucent surface through which all of the layers were visible simultaneously. In the press release the artist speaks of sight and life experiences through layers. We travel paths with a continuous stream of layered feelings, events, outside and internal involvements, all accruing into one solid, but nevertheless transparent life experience. This concept is lovely in its highlighting of the fragility of a person, of a body, of a relationship; that there is no safe or determined ground, that we lead a constantly meandering existence based on underlying and visible, forgotten and omnipresent layers.


I always appreciate sentimentality and poetry behind artworks and there doesn’t seem to be enough of that happening in modern times. However, if it wasn’t for the poetics attached to the pieces then the works would have been lost. Their message radiates far more strength and beauty than the physical embodiments. The pieces exude a fragility; the transparent layers allow the hidden brushstrokes to peek through. The myriad of different shades create a whole and complete range of a spectrum and the image is pieced together. I admire the color palette, a dash of brighter yellows here, a glint of a pearlescent metallic, a smooth and calming light blue paynes gray.


Danielle Frankenthal's Artwork

Seeing through Danielle Frankenthal’s exhibition. Gallery visitors explore the exhibition on the opening night at J. Cacciola Gallery. Photo: Steph Ziemann


All together in one room the works made sense. They were a direct portrayal of the flexibility of paint on a translucent substrate. However they didn’t feel as magical as the thought behind them did. Perhaps it was a lack of individuality amongst the pieces. I wonder what the room would look like with all of the three artists’ works together, so that the painterly journey would be visible in one sitting. Caitlin Hurd and Joan Winter will be showing next to complete the progression. I am looking forward to see the curatorial decisions behind picking all of the artists and choosing to distribute them this way, with a separate method but a similar concept. 


  • J. Cacciola Gallery “Seeing Through” January 3rd 2013 – January 19th 2013, Tues-Sat 11pm-6pm [Price Range of Artworks: $500-$5,000]
Article written by Irina Makarova