Reviews & Essays
The Figures
Regina Granne’s paintings have a dual nature in that they are both rigorously formal and powerfully spiritual. Neither the formal aspect nor the spiritual aspects lose their force because of the existence and presence of their counterpart. Rather, each aspect is dependent on its counterpart because it is its counterpart.

To penetrate to the heart of the paradox embodied in Granne’s paintings, it might be useful to begin by exploring the space evoked in them. Founded on Modernist theory, these paintings create a tension between our desire to read space into the paintings and our inability to do so. On the one hand, the use of some aspects of perspective and foreshortening is suggestive of illusionary space. On the other hand, the large, flat planes of tables, floors, and walls, curiously stripped of cast shadow, allude to the integrity of the picture plane. Every inch of each painting vibrates with a tense dialogue between space and flatness- illusion and reality.

In addition to a rigorous analysis of the nature of space in painting, Granne alludes to our experience of space in the real world. Here, in a second way, the paintings manifest a dual nature that is a corollary to the duality of experience. On the one hand, Granne carefully uses certain aspects of linear perspective and foreshortening to suggest the solid, stable world of objects that we take so for granted. On the other hand, we recognize that it is no common, monocular, linear perspective at work here, but a fluid, dynamic, changing perspective that implicitly recognizes the fact that we are in constant motion, in an ever changing, moving world of space. Moment by moment, inside the paintings, the perspective seems stable, evoking the experience of a stable world of solid objects. But taking a painting as whole, we notice that the perspective is fluid and shifting in a way that is reflective of our constantly changing perspective in real space. The net result is the creation of a tense dialogue between the two aspects of being.

Then there are the objects painted (the fruit, flowers, vases, etc.) They, also, have a carefully modulated dual nature, in that they are both particular and universal at the same time. On the one hand, it is clear that these objects are specific, real objects (i.e. not any pear or flower, or an imagined pear or flower, but the specific thing with its own particular size, shape, and contour.) On the other hand, the objects have been stripped of what could be called their non-essential particularity (superficial detail, unimportant color peculiarities, even the cast shadow that is partial proof of substance). The effect is startling. The objects reads as embodying both their ideal and their unique nature. So once again we are faced with another manifestation of tension, this time between the universal and the particular.

Further examination of Regina Granne’s paintings would reveal similar forces at work on each level. We discover deeper manifestations of dualism and the rigorously modulated tense dialogue implicit in that dualism. It is the rigor and depth of investigation of each quality that catapults this work out of the territory of mere perception and contrary dualities into the arena of metaphysics and spirituality.

- Stephen Westfall