Memories of Home

By Edward Sozanski
Inquirer Art Critic

The subdued and vaguely mystical paintings that Brian Dickerson is showing at the Mangel Gallery evoke the Schoharie Valley west of Albany, N.Y., where he grew up. Specifically, the paintings refer to the Helderberg escarpment, which runs through the region.

The references are oblique because the paintings, all on wood constructions, are abstract. Assembled from pieces of aged wood, with tiny compar

tments cut into their faces, they project the character of reliquaries.  The “relics” in this case are the artist’s memories of his boyhood in a geographically striking and archaeologically fertile place.

Dickerson achieves spiritual resonance less through form than through color, or the lack of it.  His most effective paintings are done in soft black, dark brown, gray and bronze, all of which impart sober religiosity.

Flashes of color, such as scarlet or bright green, enliven several works, and several others are done mainly in lighter hues such as yellow or pale peach and white. Yet the darker ones carry more emotional weight because they appear to be more deeply felt, or remembered.

The Philadelphia Inquirer
Friday, October 21, 2005