Art Lies, Volume 2, May-June 1994

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Sewall Art Gallery
RICE UNIVERSITY
January 13 - February 19
HES
BY ERIC SCHWAB

After passing through Sewall Gallery's main space,
filled with pictures of sprawling Italian ruins,
one came upon a miniature room in back
showing a series of miniature paintings.
Rachel Ranta's Horoscope series consists of 12
uniform, paperback-book-sized oil on wood
images showing the moon's phases in the
nighttime sky, seen through a silhouette-
arch. In eight other images, arches enframe
gently rendered corks; paradoxically, these
appear larger than life. In their simple
grandeur, Ranta's paintings combine the
cutout formalism of Matisse with the
dreamy, indulgent romantic allure of a
Maxfield Parrish illustration.

In its diminutive precision, the work has a
quaint, postage-stamp vividness: bite-size art.
At the top of each Horoscope image is the name
of a zodiac sign in simple white lettering: bite-
sized spirituality. Each astral phase is matched with the different phases of the moon shown in
each image: bite-sized cosmic conjunction. At the bottom of each painting is a group of three
words, beginning with the same letter: "echo epic ever"; "near next none." These words'
significance as a group may be random or non-random: byte-sized semiotics. The stars, the
moon, words: order, sequence, phase ... - Ranta's paintings, too, are engulfed, and engulf the
viewer, in this bite-sized abyss between random signs and cosmic unity. *

artl i e s RAPID RESPONSES

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Chandler, Wade & Schwab, Eric Jonah. Art Lies, Volume 2, May-June 1994. Houston, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth228035/. Accessed January 27, 2015.