Thursday, August 12, 2010
Women Eclectic at Gallery 6000, Kent State Stark
Not easy to gain access to, this space at the KSU Stark conference center is a great location for forcing art upon the unsuspecting public. Designed for business types and the occasional social event, the building has an elegant “lunchroom” so to speak that begs for something on the walls. Tom Wachunas comes to the rescue every few months and mounts a show of local talent so people can look at something other than each other.
The difficult part is timing your visit to see the show. I tried twice and figured out the best time is late afternoon, 3-5 pm or so when the business of “business” is winding down and the staff will gladly direct you to the gallery space. Turning on the lights must have required extra so I viewed it in natural light provided by the wall of windows. So if you want to see some good art, proudly invade their left brain Bastille and take some time enjoying the following gems. In the interest of full disclosure, 5 of my pastels are included in the show which I won’t “review” because that would be rather silly (after all darling, they are FAAAAbulous!). My five faces do act as a kind of audience for the works of the other artists, interspersed like built in spectators which I found rather fun. Pause for a commercial interruption---- A full exhibition of portraits will be at my solo show at Studio M opening Jan. 14, 2011 called “Fascinating Faces from Interesting Places”---and now back to our regularly scheduled blogging.
Let’s start with Kathryn Ackerman’s work, also the postcard image. Four of her pieces are in oil and one is in acrylic and the one I found to be exceptionally intriguing. Entitled “Behind the Iron Door”, it is a face that is rendered with depth and implied texture and text. To me, the message is of a woman from some eastern European culture imprisoned and numbered. What culture or generation does not matter as atrocities have occurred over there several times. It just touched me as a work with a strong message within its colors and fractured composition. Her other works are more fanciful and full of multiple images that had me wondering how she builds her compositions, by collage or happenstance or some other creative inspiration. They are complicated and full of color and highly detailed in spots showing a masterful use of the medium as oil can get a bit muddy and these pieces are fresh and robust.
Ronni Marcinkowey has large acrylic canvases in the show that jump off the walls with their scale of imagery and bold colors. One work was on the floor, having been perhaps knocked off or the victim of a broken wire, but I found it ironic because it was called “Green Peace” which I assumed to be about global warming. I did stoop down to see the rich texture of the leaves and the undulating surface reminiscent of a jungle. My favorites were “Pareo” and “Zen”, especially the latter for its freshness and depth of color. Hanging next to “Red Mary”, “Zen” was like looking through a microscope at a portion of the former. One has to get close to the surface to see the additional media added into the piece and making it all that much more exciting in its abstraction.
“Red Mary” is by Sarah Winther Shumaker, the last of us four artists in the show. She has the most variety in her presentations showing wax with watercolor, reverse collage, watercolor alone, encaustic and finally mixed media pieces. The encaustic works are very architectural in nature, reminding me of vignettes taken from a long lost Italian city, remnants of lives past. Though the contents are contemporary, the surface treatment gives the work an ancient feel. My absolute favorite is “All The Pretty Little Houses” a truly beautifully rendered watercolor that reads like batik. It has that watercolor sparkle which is so hard to obtain. Having spent 15 years working in watercolor myself (early career era), I can appreciate the difficulty of doing watercolor well. Even the lack of light did not detract from the simple power of the imagery and the purple mat around it, yippie!!, I like purple too and it compliment my “Tara” hung beside it.
I understand that the opening was well attended and thank all who came to support the artists. It is nice to have a space outside of the arts district and not in a formal gallery setting that shows the work of locals. Sometimes we have to bring the art to the public in order to get it noticed. Thanks for the show Tom.