by Liz Blood

Image: Chris Trueman, “CFI,” detail, acrylic, acrylic spray, and yupo on sintra

“Expand your perception through visual experience” sounds a bit like a call to get stoned and look at a blacklight poster in Joshua Tree. Until, that is, you see the paintings for which that postcard invitation script was written. “Limitless Space” at Orth Contemporary shows six painters utilizing bright and fresh technologies, attitudes, and approaches for painting in the abstract.

This is the most exciting and well-paired abstract work I’ve seen in Tulsa. Each piece creates depth of field with unusual materials like sewn acetate (Rachel Hayes, “Ways of Building”), or yupo and acrylic (Chris Truman, “CFI”), or an invented compound containing silver nitrate (Jimi Gleason, “Brophy50”).

In Gleason’s paintings, which are reflective, mirror-like—alchemy is revelation, the viewer can see himself in it. In Trueman’s “CFI,” it’s unclear where paint meets yupo meets spray paint—in places it looks like you could stick your hand into the paper, past the spray, and touch the paint stroke, or the other way around. Sall’s giant masterpiece, “Deluge #3,” creates the same effect with pastel strokes behind thick oil paint.

“There’s no perspective point when you’re just applying paint,” said Katie Orth, Orth Contemporary’s owner/dealer/curator. “But these artists are creating an illusion of depth in abstraction. They’ve created a different ballpark for how things are show—and it draws you in.”

It’s true; in these paintings you’re often not sure what you’re seeing—and what’s more fun than questioning your reality while staring at what’s on the wall?