"Shedding shackles of history and style"

Kenneth Baker  San Francisco Chronicle, May 3, 2003

Tim Rice at Soker:

    Stanley Burnshaw once defined poetry as "notations for an internal dance." The phrase fits perfectly several works by Bay Area painter Tim Rice at Don Soker Contemporary Art.

    In paintings he calls "Threads," Rice lays down a translucent ground color in oil and puts parellel bands of darker hue over it.  He works into the wet stripes with palette knives or pliant brushes, spreading the pigment in strokes that seem to veer between writing and writhing.

     Echoes of vertical inscriptions in Japanese painting jostle with reminders of Abstract Expressonistic handwork.  The flat sheen in Rice's paintings also recalls the use of metal leaf in classic Japanese screens.

     In green-toned "Thread 4," (2003), the churning of paint strokes jumps between vertical registers, generating a leafy, limblike animation almost reminiscent of Hieronymous Bosch.

     The best pieces here, like "Thread 4," seem to show Rice discovering unsuspected depth in his own painting process.

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