"Concurrence" featuring Kathleen Thum and Austin Ballard

Kathleen Thum's illustrations seem aquatic in design while also melding organic or flesh-like forms with delicate mechanical structures with the later seeming to both support and invade the former. While I get lost in the intricate compositions I seem to keep crashing back into reality; drawn back by the occasional discomfort of certain forms that terms me too much of wounds on flesh that haven't been allowed to properly heal.

When viewing the sculptures by Ballard alongside Thum's work, they come across as regions from this works created by the artists, but with our human influence present. The geometric wooden forms look like human artifacts that the ceramic components are growing around like coral or moss. These ceramic forms seem to be happily absorbing and incorporating the wood as if they were sentient beings.

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The colors are largely muted with light earth tones and whites dominating the space and allowing the subtle pinks, greens, blues, and yellows to pop despite their pastel tones. Somehow, this adds to my conflicting experience of the works as it creates this polite yet almost inappropriately intimate atmosphere about the work.

There's a definite playfulness present in each piece, but not the kind one might expect. It reminds me of fae creatures in that the playfulness seem is natural for the being from this world, but exceedingly dangerous to mere mortals. Rough plot lines seem to form in the works with each piece looking like some alien world that we are visiting as explorers. Large forms turn into land masses and meshes seem to create plans that defy our understanding of how the physical world operates. In the end, I'm left with this feeling that these works offer a view into some alternate reality or alien universe where even the principles of matter and space are questionable. If the intent was to transport the viewer into such a state, then it's a job done well - very well.

Concurrence, featuring works by Austin Ballard and Kathleen Thum, runs from August 25 to October 1 at the Rosemary Duffy Larson Gallery at the Broward College Central Campus in Davie, FL.

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