Richard Sloat
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New Haven Register, Sunday, June 5, 1988
Prints, Ceramics at Erector Square
by Shirley Gonzales

A trio of artists are showing their work at Erector Square Gallery, 315 Peck St., through June 19 in a well-assembled show. Su-Li Hung and Richard Sloat are printmakers, while Priscilla Hollingsworth works with ceramics.

Both printmakers have concentrated on woodcut, although Sloat also shows etchings. There are traces of the influence of Oriental woodcuts in the work of each, but differences also.

Su-Li Hung's subjects are taken primarily from nature. She shows birds such as the common snipe, the osprey, the great blue heron, or even flocks of migrating birds. Her color is used selectively and with great emphasis. In "Chickens Under a Banana Tree," it is as bright and raucous as chickens can be. In a landscape called "North," black and white wading birds and their reflections are set against a wide dark area which recedes to meet the only color in the print -- the olive green of hills in the distance. This is one of the loveliest of her works. Texture is emphasized more than color, as a rule.

Sloat turns his subject matter into rhythmic or geometric compositions, and it is usually the city with which he deals. Several, specifically those which are etched, are actual views of the urban skyline or an individual streetcorner, and these resemble some of the Social Realist works from earlier in this century.

Others, however, are composed of a series of black angular shapes, all interconnected against a white ground. These are windows and corners of buildings, piled together askew and forming solid, angular forms against the white, like dancing figures. "And then the City Became a Butterfly" is perhaps the culmination of those prints, as long rows of windows wind their way upward and out in black columns, and gold ones rise from the center, curling upward like two antennae. Sloat has managed to give the city an unusual sense of vitality.

Using forms that are more fluid than those of either printmaker, Hollingsworth has shaped large, irregular forms from strips of clay, building them upward in rings that decrease in size as they rise, so the tops are closed. There are sufficient openings in these undulating walls to permit one to see into the forms. They have no bottoms and are thus not vessels or containers of any sort, but simply hollow, enclosed forms -- a little like oversized, knitted hats left sitting upright on a table. It is these patterns, drawn in broad strokes and wonderful color combinations, as well as the shapes, that make these pieces unusual. There is something earthy about them, and a suggestion here and there of something familiar -- an artichoke with its top cut off, a woman's dress form, a cluster of upraised arms. Nothing too distinct, just hints.

The show is extremely well-assembled. The work of each artist is visually complementary to that of the others, and the placement of specific pieces is carefully thought out.

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