John Brandenburg, NewsOK, September 28, 2013:  Art exhibit review: Tulsa artist shows precision, balance in mosaic works in Norman show

NORMAN — An art medium that can be one of excess is handled with cool precision, and a good balance of abstract, geometric and expressive elements, in the “Art in Mosaic” by Jacqueline Iskander.

The exhibit by the Tulsa artist, who began working in mosaic in 1996, is on display through Oct. 30 at the Performing Arts Studio's Depot Gallery, 200 S Jones Ave.

Noting that she has an affinity for natural stone, Italian mosaic glass and gold,” Iskander said her works often begin with “a shape, a pattern, a material” and a “very simple and vague concept.”

“I negotiate the personality of the material and cut the tesserae — the individual pieces — that I will then call upon to help me tell my elusive story,” she said.

Particularly austere and grid-based is “Etude,” in which a black band provides a horizon line in a white field, behind three double vertical columns of blue, yellow-green and blue-green color.

Referring to classical music, too, is “Sonata,” in which a predominantly green horizontal line crosses in front of and unites four gold vertical bands, raised slightly above a gray-tan mosaic background.

Gold also becomes the key element in four other minimal, geometric mosaics, called “Subtleties,” “Gold Rising,” “Windows #1” and “La Piazza.”

Suggesting a landscape, with its rolling hills and sedimentary layers exposed, is “Calling,” a small work with a nearly jewel-like quality, made from such materials as abalone, amethyst and agate as well as shells and fossils.

Mundane, discarded metal objects, like coins and washers, are embedded in the curving, multicolor rock formations of a far less romantic landscape, scorched by the rays of a flat copper sun, in “Trashland.” The subtitle describes this thought-provoking work as “A Meditation on the Earth, Trash, and the Footprint of Art-Making.”

A darkened room frames our view through a doorway, over an attached terrace, across a garden, to a pink house with a tile roof, in “L'entrata,” a complex, painterly and accomplished composition.

A tentacle or armlike appendage seems to be reaching out to or becoming a shell-shaped “fist” in a small, horizontal work whose title refers to the “Old Testament.”

The spiral of a shell also reminds the artist — and us — to “Take Your Time,” while an intentionally too complex composition is called “Be Still, My Mind.”

Making us think of exotic places and travel are the golden crescent moons of “Remembering Istanbul,” while floral forms help open our minds to ornate design possibilities in several other intriguing works.

— John Brandenburg