Visual Arts - Worlds apart - Soho Myriad

Soho Myriad show illuminates venue's shortcomings

Congruit Universa, Latin for "corresponding worlds," is an exhibition by two New York artists at Soho Myriad gallery that might be more aptly titled Colliding Worlds.

Not exactly at the heart of the Atlanta art scene, the venue, attached to a framing and art consulting business, is located in the Westside design district, a few blocks from Bacchanalia, Macon Fine Art, Mondo and Taqueria del Sol. Beginning in a room at the front entrance, the art flows through a wide hallway and spills onto the walls edging a large workspace and storage area.

A series of slick-surfaced diptychs by Carol Peligian in the first gallery space studies landscape and abstraction. Her Congruit Universa juxtaposes media — epoxy and ink on wood and steel meet oil - on canvas to an interesting effect. The compositions introduce the nonobjective by presenting its relationship to the figurative. A smaller vignette or detail on the left references a large-scale painting on the right.

In "Congruit Universa II," Peligian frames the deep violet and lime green image of a pond in a wide swath of shiny deep green. The connected painting transforms that small environment into a green expanse bruised with murky brown, dark blue and purple. A life-sized painting of birch trees dominates "Congruit Universa I," where an adjacent small-scale version of the same scene is framed in iridescent white enamel.

By far Peligian's most interesting vision is her "Notebook." With 11 entries, the 143-by-12-inch diary moves along the wall in squares of green, blue, white, fleshy pink, butter yellow and silver. Imagery slides from solid to patterned, textured to smooth, photographic to painterly. "Notebook" remembers life as a suite composed of sky, wispy clouds, empty space, freshly hatched eggs, a box of white feathers, glimmering cells and crushed velvet.

Down the hall, Lisa Ingram applies oil to paper and canvas in a sequence of abstractions. Her best achievement on paper recalls the gorgeous sculptural wax works of Petah Coyne that cascaded from the ceiling of the High Museum a few years back. Like chandeliers dripping with wax or great layer cakes that flow with icing, each element in the series "Time I-IV" is filled with spouts, drizzles and pools of burgundy and indigo, gray and sage green.

When Ingram works in oil on canvas, her idea of color becomes vibrant, her images more atmospheric. "Canopy" evokes a luminous clearing in a garden, while the enormous painting she calls "Oracle" erupts in great bursts of yellow, blue, green, pink and purple across a 16-foot wall.

Unfortunately, the life in those imaginary worlds is choked by the frameshop reality that surrounds them. This expressive art has no room to breathe.

Congruit Universa continues through April 20 at Soho Myriad, 1250 Menlo Drive. 404-351-5656.??