Over the years, I've been intrigued by the inventions Stew Henderson comes up with to express his view of the cosmos. To name a few, he’s used three dimensions, two dimensions, bird song, the covers of many New Yorker magazines, water from the Danube River and clock time to arrive at images which, though disparate, are always recognizably Hendersons. He describes his “Paper Circus” series, on view now at Caldbeck Gallery in Rockland, as a group of images which happened during a transition between two intentional bodies of work, but it seems to me that these images are more truly complete than the work which preceded and which follows them. Henderson has always been comfortable with a diamond format, which is very effective here, as is a larger vertical format. But what really makes these images successful is the combination of jewel-colored collaged “beads,” red Pollock-like skeins of paint, and black-and-white forms that seem derived from eyes and eyeglasses. While he has used these elements before, here, framed in black, they are overlaid in such a way that their activities reference an indefinable something that lies beyond themselves. I venture a guess that this might involve more abstract ideas such as vision and anti-matter and the cosmic dance. The strength of the message results from Henderson's accurate use of space, color. and line.
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