Exhibit preview: “In the Air” entrances viewer with ethereal duality and dimensions

From the July 31, 2014 edition

The pieces in Ian Hagarty’s “In the Air” exhibition at Angela Meleca Gallery are designed to launch viewers into a new dimension with every gaze. The exhibition is a combination of representational and abstract paintings that also includes mixed-media pieces combining paint and digital images.

Hagarty’s pieces are riddled with dualities achieved by juxtaposing strong, geometric shapes with softer backdrops and textures. The veteran artist has experimented with digital design for four years, and said he still finds it “a little weird” to refer to himself as a mixed-media artist. Still, he appreciates the element and variety it brings to his work.

“I’ve always been interested in complex or layered images,” Hagarty said during a phone interview. “I’m also really interested in repetition, taking something kind of simplistic and seeing how far you can develop it.”

Hagarty found inspiration for the exhibition while traveling between his home in West Virginia to Italy and Spain. His infatuation with geography gave him direction, but didn’t stop him from expanding his works beyond their initial vision.

“One of the things I’m really striving for is to create images with many dimensions and move beyond them,” he said. “So many things in our world are beyond our recognition, and I’m fascinated by that.”

One thing Hagarty said he hoped the pieces would not surpass, however, is the season that influenced them. Hagarty has a love for summer, and in the dead of winter longs for warmer months. The warm color schemes and electric neons in many of the pieces on display at the gallery imply that Hagarty has reached his goal. Even in cooler colored pieces, light shines through sharp lines, inducing a summer vibe.

“I’m excited to be able to exhibit this show in the summer — it fits,” he said. “I’m also excited to exhibit in Columbus; I feel it has a lot to offer to the arts, and I’m happy to be able to contribute.”