Carol Wiley’s new body of work, featured in the current “Color Collaborations” show at the downtown Tidemark Gallery, is a lot about bodies — one of which is involved with a length of string. “Arms and the Man,” an imposing and richly-colored acrylic and collage work on paper, is a striking image that balances power with delicacy. Viewers are challenged to see and to find their own meaning in the lines, colors and textures that seem spontaneous, but are far from accidental.

Wiley trusts her figures to tell their stories, just as she trusts her viewers to bring their own meaning to the narrative. A life-long student of art, with many studio workshops and classes on her resume along with a bachelor’s degree in art history and advanced degrees in education, she is drawing upon a vibrant interior life of learning, curiosity and observation.

“My figures begin as gesture drawings and then somehow they evolve into what you see,” said Wiley.

She described how her process is about layering color and getting emotion from color, then movement with line and then putting in opaque shapes to delete some of the busy-ness. Wiley added, “If the works become sexually provocative it is unintentional. Ambiguity perhaps is intended.”

As both creator and viewer of a series of her abstract paintings in the show, Wiley called them purely visual — about color, line and shape — with titles that convey a meaning that was not there to begin with.

“Color Collaborative” is on exhibit through Oct. 2 at the Tidemark Gallery, which is open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 832-5109.