Saturday, June 12, 2010
Dress Code at 2nd April Galerie
First off, that is a show title, not a chance to raid one’s closet for creative couture, but since I like pushing the envelope (gasp!) the fashions at the opening event did get photographed for future reference. The opening was quite the place to be on an off Friday. Perhaps I should take up the old social column duties and list some names. Remember those days? Monday was the day to see if your name was in the events section as opposed to the crime report or the obits. So in my best impersonation of Miss Barbara from Romper Room holding up her magic mirror..….I see Marcie and Gail and Joe and Diane and Stephen and Tom and Diane and Joseph and Tiffany (how was dinner?) and Nancy and Marti and Lynn and Brennis and Todd and Rod and Christian and eye candy…or whatever her name was…..and well, you get the picture. Which evidently quite a few people did because lots of red dots were scattered across the room.
Let’s start with the overall concept of this show which was an idea born from one woman tossing out an idea to another. Some of the best projects are started with the words “what if” and so it goes from there. Both Lynn Digby and Marti Jones Dixon have studio spaces at 2nd April so this was not a show to show their work per say, but to show their work as a collective thought. The size 22 red dress was on display at the door, the one that inspired Dixon’s pieces so we will start our journey with her works. Okay, I’m biased, red is my favorite color.
The deep sided canvases vary in size to accommodate the action of the figure so I am guessing. Overall I am reminded of Diane Belfiglio’s work in that the essence of light is essential to the composition as well as the patterns and the simplicity of shapes and forms. The first few works just inside the door that depict the figure in a pool and others in a hot tub remind me of David Hockney’s pool paintings with the patterns of light on water. Not an easy thing to do! Like Digby’s pieces, one has to look beyond and around the figure as well to see what else is going on in the background. Deep spaces are depicted and details rendered that are just as important to the image as the figures in the red dress. Come to think of it, I hope that thing went to the drycleaner before being propped up by the door….. It was nice to see that both women signed their paintings and in some cases, dated them as well. I know, I promised to explain why that is important in a posting at some point. Dixon has 17 pieces in this main floor exhibition, many already sold.
Lynn Digby’s pieces are also on deep sided canvases and deep in visual space as well. Did anybody notice the detail on the gargoyle in “Buffy”? Her expertise with paint is obvious as painting tattoos to look like they are part of the flesh and not just added over the top is a very difficult image to render. I’ve tried and may have to sneak over and watch how she does that. One of the largest canvases and my favorite is “Nicole”, the full figure portrait of a young girl in a blue dress with a snarky smirk on her face. Her whole personality comes through in the pose and the expression, no background needed. Digby has 7 pieces on the exhibition side of the room and quite a few more over on the north wall where her new space will be, rooming with Michele Waalkes.
Besides these pieces, several other artists have new work on display, some being new to the gallery. Large photos by Dabe Alan focus on the figure, a couple of which were at the Saxon Gallery photo judging last weekend….I have an opinion on that for a later posting. Photos by Rob Booth and a nicely rendered charcoal drawing by Lauren Bagley anchor the two edges of the featured show. Across the floor are the wall displays for the new studio spaces being built (next week right??!!) for Rosemary Hayne and Dana Muntean (hey, when did they get to be roomies too?) and Snarky Art.
If you have not been to 2nd April in a while, which evidently is going to be like the student union building of the campus, one can also buy CD’s, books, jewelry, pottery, stuff, coffee and more. At least a 150 people were there last night before drifting off to other campus parties. Oh, I must also mention that Tom was sick last night which frankly I find ridiculous. I also found out I am not supposed to actually carry a book around and write notes while viewing a show. Excuse me, but being blonde, female, an artist and middle aged….. I got four reasons why I need that notebook buster. Now where was I?
Oh yeah, be sure to spend some time absorbing all the surfaces and skills found in the Dress Code show. Don’t rush past them just looking at the pose of the figure or the “picture” itself. Paintings are built up one brush stroke at a time, which is a lot of time and a lot of work, even though it may not seem like it if one has not done it themselves. To truly appreciate a painting, one has to start with the overall image and then start to break it down to see how it was built up in the first place. Take a square inch of one of Digby’s faces and see how many colors and brush marks are in it. Take a square inch of Dixon’s diamond background and do the same. They may not be DaVinci, but the Code is just as complicated. (Oh come on, you all knew I would get that into this somehow!)