Review: Sam Ainsley at I Space

by Alan Artner, Chicago Tribune, February 27th 2009

Sam Ainsley: This painter from Glasgow, Scotland, offers a series of paintings and mixed-media works at the I Space Gallery that bring together outer and inner worlds, frequently suggesting landscape through the terms of the human body.

Ainsley presents motifs such as leaves or hearts in details, fully rounded forms that she sets next to the same motifs rendered as spindly, open-form drawings. So there's often the sense of an organ or object from nature examined at once from within and without. But just as frequently, a seemingly microscopic view of viscera or cells will suddenly evoke a high aerial view of landscape, giving us the feeling of being in between the inner and outer and able to tip either way.

Some forms, especially those that appear to be made of fabric in "Skeleton Leaves" and "Ghost Cocoon", are so precisely painted as to give the illusion we could reach out and feel texture and folds. But scenes in the small, mixed-media pieces also may be so quickly and loosely set down that they give only hints of representation.