Now on view at Gallery 6000 located within the Kent State Stark Conference Center, one can view the works of 12 local artists who meet on a regular basis to explore and expand their creative energies. Nancy Matin is the proverbial “Leader of the Pack” who guides, inspires and perhaps indulges their potential.
Tremendous credit goes to Tom Wachunas who curates this space. To take such a diverse body of work and make it feel like a cohesive exhibition is not easy. With little in common as far as mounting and presentation, the elements of each piece in regard to color and composition as well as other bones lying within the imagery itself must be utilized to unify the display for maximum viewing.
I call this show the sequel because this group had a showing at the North Canton Little Art Gallery in June of 2010. As far as I can tell, all of the pieces in this show are new with the exception of a few that have been on display in other venues since that exhibition. For those who follow the local art scene, many of your favorites have signature style works in this show and at least one red dot was added during the opening event. A comprehensive brochure is available to help one identify each artist and their work.
Referring back to how the show is hung, a few things will capture your attention if a table is open and you can see the “big picture”. Ted Lawson’s saturated red “Showtime II” is next to Gail Wetherell-Sack’s “A Green Scene: Techno/Lime”. My words should make it obvious, but the juxtaposition of red and green (begin complimentary colors) works to the advantage of both pieces. A luminous rectangle of purple in Ted’s painting becomes all that more apparent. Gail’s mixed media work is pure Tom Wesselmann during his 1960’s and 70’s interiors genre. Another piece by Gail, “Resolution: Remembering a Beautiful Friend” with its swirl of red is the negative (in the artistic use of the word) to Pam LaRocco’s positive “White Flowers” which hangs next to it. The affect is not really noticeable unless at a distance which was the same with the pink mat of Nancy Michel’s “Sole Sisters #2”. Hanging next to Judi Longacre’s “Which Way to the Beach” with its vibrant pink flamingos scattered across the paper just as the shoes are equally dispersed. I am partial to both flamingos and stilettos so that corner of the room was a double winner for me.
A triptych of pieces anchors the center of this wall, each piece working in harmony with the other as well as elevated by its neighbor. In the center is Russ Hench’s “Untitled” piece (grrrrr……..untitled? with all those elements, nothing inspired?) with his layers upon layers of textures and objects. I want to mention Sharon Dulabaum’s “Max” which I am guessing is in tribute to Peter Max with the psychedelic style shapes and smoking ummmm…cigarette. Obviously there are two sides to her creative brain as “Beth” is the ying to Max’s yang. Next to “Max” is a real gem by Pam LaRocco entitled “Downcast”. This textural acrylic piece is a landscape best viewed from a few steps back as one will really see the reflections in the deep and soulful pool of water that comprises the lower half of the work. I did not notice it up close because I was focusing on the textures of the ground upon which it was painted, but from a distance away, the piece is more than just its luscious surface. Other rich surfaces abound in Sharon Noble’s “Endangered Reef” and the out of focus background of Cynthia Capestrain’s “Lemons of Corsica”. In the works of Kristine Wyler and Lynn Weinstein I find the most direct influence of Nancy Matin as they explore the affects of light and shadow, contact printing and layer upon layer of translucent surfaces.
I look forward to the next time this group of talented individuals mount a group show because it is fascinating to watch how their work changes. In June, it was all about color with a concentration on imagery. In this show, I see a devotion to using a format from edge to edge with an emphasis on filling the available space with visual activity. Each contains a resting spot for the eye, necessary for the success of any piece, but nothing is left “empty”.
The Kent State Conference Center is a busy place and often the gallery space is occupied, but if you go during the late afternoon, chances are you can see the show uninterrupted.