Karen Rifas has traded wispy, dried oak leaves for bold colors and sharp-edge forms. This change of media has evolved for several years in her solid career as a Miami-based artist, as her show “PER FORMS” at Emerson Dorsch reveals. Yet, she says, “I haven’t left leaves.”
Indeed she has not. The strings of obsessively-stitched-together oak leaves she’s often used for her airy sculptures are magically implied in this gathering of 25 geometric paintings on watercolor paper. There’s also an installation of movable geometric shapes, designed for a performance by Dale Andree and dancers, showing Rifas’s abiding impulse to draw in space.
Shifting rhythms are paramount in these new, glowing works, such as 1255. The shimmy of oak leaves resurfaces as light and dark shapes that seem to recede and advance. A skilled colorist, she paints dense volumes that bend and vibrate, challenging defined certainties and enabling fluid patterns of perception.