By John Anderson, Washington City Paper
It’s been five years since Linling Lu’s last exhibition at Hemphill Fine Arts. She’s not going to escape any yawning references to Kenneth Noland or Gene Davis this time, either. But that is more a feature of the work than a bug. Sure: We can compare her vibrating stripes to those of Davis. Yes: The circle recalls Noland. But neither of those artists were capable of capturing a deep space within their best known paintings. Lu does—though no photograph of her pieces can adequately recreate the space of the work. All numbered within the series of One Hundred Years of Solitude, the concentric blue bands of “#122” fall into a deep abyss of blue. Conversely, the stripes of green in “#120” leap from the circular canvas like the conical eye of a chameleon.
The illusion of space occurs at a careful distance from each painting. Viewed from too far away, the canvas pulsates, creating disorienting eye pain. Viewed too closely, the full-effect of a painting’s deep space is lost. However, it’s from up-close that the canvas transforms into a second work, one where a careful study can be made of the painting’s lollipop stripes, as the rest of the canvas deliciously consumes all peripheral vision.