Santa Barbara DAILY SOUND, Friday, MAY 19, 2006

Art show takes on many forms


An array of abstract mixed media paintings and wall and floor sculptures by German-born artist Jack Mohr, dominate the ARTAMO gallery at 11 West Anapamu Street. A reception will be held tomorrow from 6-9.The exhibition titled Contradiction Part I shows through June 4. Part II of Mohr’s themed work will be
on display from June 21-July 9.

Taking obvious cues from many early and well-known German abstract artists, Mohr has developed his own practice of working in a variety of media to achieve striking visual effects.

Using everything from corrugated cardboard to linen and nails, Mohr’s art is definitely not a benign force on the stark white gallery walls.

This exhibition represents Mohr’s work over the past three years or so. It is a very controlled mixture of media, texture and placement.

Sharp edges contrast with patches of linen and smooth lacquered, shiny surfaces. His works are vivid and interesting, even the pure white porcelain wall sculptures contrast nicely with larger heavy paintings sporting bright hues in red, silver and metallic blue.

Mohr's intention seems almost obvious in allowing the viewer to just immerse themselves in the abstract qualities of his works.

Although nails crop out of most of his art, there is little need to analyze their existence. Mohr's creative application of paint mixed with oddities of random substances over-shines any back story or deep truth they might hold.

However, a bit of fun can be had with his large painting titled Four Ways to Get Through a Blue Day. It can be placed in any direction to acquire the intended perspective.

Mohr’s only work that seems to provoke any serious emotion is one of two sculpted silver-based towers.

Titled Breaking News Column, the board is wrapped in a collage of newsprint bleating out disasters with a broken side panel and a few nails climbing up the sides.

Created in 2001, it is hard not to seethe influence of 9/11, no matter how much Mohr pleads otherwise. The other tower is of similar texture, but without news or print or nails, just a mixture of silver and red textures. Titled Red NetWorks Column, it was created in 2003.

Mohr has lived in Santa Barbara since 1997. He is a graduate of the University for Creative Arts in Berlin and has a Master's Degree in graphic design.

His early training in Berlin shows throughout his work. Each piece is a clean and precise expression of contemporary abstract art.