Molly Briggs’ elegant, evocative paintings simultaneously call to mind East Asian landscapes, still life compositions, and underwater ecosystems. Briggs’ abstract figures, where familiar organic shapes transfigure and morph from a kind of blobby chaos, act as a kind of Rorschach test: are a group of waving lines on a hill a forest of trees or seaweed? The delicate balance between expressionism and representation leads to a changing interpretation of perspective in scale and form, and the paintings are strongest when they make generous use of blank space to call attention to the lack of context the images have. Other paintings that compress figures into limited spaces are much less suggestive and more muddled. Briggs’ use of color is remarkable, where her muted palette is accented by bright fuschia flashe, a non-reflective paint used for backdrops in theater, so that the paintings absorb light in equally surprising ways. (Monica Westin)
Through May 23 at Zg Gallery, 300 W. Superior.