Jane Braddock’s elegant, feminine color palette in “Drip Paintings” at Tinney Contemporary is visually stunning. New works from the artist’s “Shakti” series literally drip with the rich “color of India,” only made more interesting by the literary sources of poetry, prose, historical fiction, and Sanskrit translations informing some of their letterforms. Dynamic and irregular patterns comprise vibrational fields of light against references to popular culture, bordering the mass appeal of Pop art—creations of an artist who, not surprisingly, was once a textile designer and colorist working for decorative fabric manufacturers, such as Brunschwig & Fils, in New York.
The influence of South Asia on Braddock’s exhibition is palpable and reveals a deep, layered significance behind its beautiful surface. Braddock’s travels to Tibet, India, and Nepal, since the 1990s, have exposed her to Hinduism, and drastically changed her style to include not just brush strokes, but dots, text, spatters, and now, drips. According to Braddock, the foremost influence over her current work is the idea of Shakti, Hindu’s primordial feminine force of creation and Shiva’s counterpart.
The stencil-like letterforms and abstract shapes in many of Braddock’s paintings remain two-dimensional, yet, achieve organic movement across the linear plane through color and light. Flashes of gold and silver in paintings, such as River Sutra [Gita Mehta] and Leaving Their Bodies Like Old Clothes Upon the Shore [W. Benton], are reflections of the overhead gallery lighting, but also align with Shakti’s uncontrollable energy said to inexplicably move through the universe. The feminine parallel between Braddock and Shakti bestows a somewhat divine character over the exhibition.
Jane Braddock’s “Drip Paintings” runs through March 12 at Tinney Contemporary in Nashville.
Elaine Slayton Akin is an arts writer and nonprofit professional in Nashville. She is currently the development coordinator at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Last year, Akin relocated to Nashville from Little Rock, Arkansas, where she worked as the communications manager at the Thea Foundation and was a board member for Number magazine.