Amy Rathbone/Bob Matthews - Gravity Need Not Apply
Alison Bing, special to SF Gate
November 18, 2004
We count on art to give our minds something to do other than brood in these trying times, and artists Bob Matthews and Amy Rathbone kindly oblige at Gregory Lind Gallery this month. Their parallel shows deftly deliver on the intrigue of their titles: Matthews’ lilting digital drawings in “Songs to Teach Your Children” lead us whistling through fairy-tale forests bedecked with carnival lights, and Rathbone constructs beguiling architectural follies from wire, pencil and coffee grounds in her show “On one side of the river, healthy desires; on the other, a measly phone booth.” In Rathbone's “Plebians” wall installation, the flat, white gallery wall is gleefully interrupted by upstart splotches of brown spray paint haloed with hot-pink pencil and contradicted by tendrils of orange and pale-blue wire coming right out of the woodwork. Rathbone's construction is an embellishment that serves no structural purpose, so in theory it could be called an architectural folly -- but the colorful wires and dots make the white wall lighten up, already, and reveal the inherent folly of any massive, monotonous structure left unchallenged. Rathbone deftly makes light of heavy material again in her drawing made of coffee, tea and gouache called “A Windy Town in Nepal.” Here, a lopsided, cartoonish stupa of pebbles seems to be blowing in the wind, like Dylan's proverbial answer as constructed by Tibetan monks and sketched by Shel Silverstein. Matthews also sets the scene for flights of fancy in “People's Stage,” with tinted stage lights illuminating a forest clearing and tattered towels hung overhead like so many makeshift heraldic banners. His “Caravan” is another digital excursion deep into the woods, with colorful streamers disappearing into the evergreens and glowing footlights urging us forward into the unknown. With such gentle but insistent prompting from both Matthews and Rathbone, our earthbound imaginations can soar again.