Cheryl Pope's 'Variations on a Love Theme' is a show to remember
There are times when I arrive at an art exhibition and feel I’m in exactly the right place. The display is so inviting that it’s overwhelming. This was my feeling at the show of Chicago artist Cheryl Pope, currently on view at The Ulrich Museum.
Pope’s 18 large works look like sumptuous easel paintings until you draw closer and realize that these are rendered in needle punched wool yarn over cashmere. Human figures within detailed interiors or with colorful umbrellas on beaches evoke wonder of love, loss, or days gone by.
By Pope’s admission, she takes influence from a group of French painters known as Les Nabis, arguably whose best-known members were Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard. And they were admirers of Gauguin and Cezanne. If you know Gauguin you are aware of his exquisite use of color and form. If still unfamiliar, think Matisse.
Pope’s works are monumental in my eye. Soft and round, the human forms seem familiar and at ease. The breadth of color usage is stunning and deep. I am not so sure that the lines and boldness of this work could be achieved in paint. And the great bonus is the wonderful texture in each work.
This is a show to remember. Cheryl Pope, “Variations on a Love Theme,” at The Ulrich through December 3rd.