Louisa McElwain at Evoke Contemporary

Louisa McElwain, Be Thou Strong My Habitation (2012), oil on canvas

Evoke Contemporary, 550 S. Guadalupe St., 505-995-9902, evokecontemporary.com

For 28 years, Louisa McElwain (1953-2013) made the landscapes of the Southwest her subject. Painting en plein air with palette knives and trowels, they created tactile compositions that captured the diverse terrain and skies. She wasn’t interested in realism, choosing to render the colors and forms of the landscape in bold thick strokes and with an abstract quality. “I want it to be as much about the paint as the motif,” she says in a statement. “The palette knife doesn’t allow me to articulate things in a drawing way, but it does have an additional dimension of expressing the sensuous quality of paint. It expresses more of the physicality of the material than I’m likely to achieve with a brush.” Each of her paintings, she says, were completed in less than four hours. A Dance to the Tempo of the Evolving Day, a solo exhibition of her paintings, opens with a 5 p.m. reception on Friday, Aug. 28, and will be on display through Sept. 19. The work is also on view on the gallery’s website.

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