Thursday, January 20, 2011

McFadden and the Fountain

I stopped in at Malone College today to view the two exhibits on display at the Fountain Gallery and the McFadden Gallery respectively. If this venue is not part of your monthly gallery hopping then you need to reprogram the in-car navigator (called “Naggie” in our cars, because it is pretty cool to be chastised in an Australian accent). The Johnson Center on Cleveland Ave. at 25th street is the location of both and has easy access visitor parking.

The Fountain Gallery is currently showing R.S.V.P. through February 28th, subtitled (by me) as Blind Date Lite. If you are familiar with the Blind Date show staged by Anderson Creative in 2009 and which will be revised in May of 2011, you will understand the premise of this exhibit. 5 art students and one faculty member were matched with 5 (+1) students from the Language and Literature Department. Each student made a work of art based on a piece of writing, and each writer created a piece based on a work of art. Full disclosure…… I did not read all of the writings because of that damn fountain in the lobby. It is so annoying and being middle aged, the sound of the crashing water was tolerable for only a short period of time. I reviewed the art with great care and chose two pieces whose work merited my time reading the affiliated writings. Full disclosure number two....though I applaud the collaboration of writers and artists as something that can lead to great creative pieces from both parties, most people are not going to spend the time to read any lengthy text with devout attention. Even I, an A+ honors English graduate, gets bored after a paragraph or two. I read by speed reading which is the first and last sentence of each paragraph, picking out key words, getting the innuendo and major points then moving on. I would guess that English majors would read the text with care, glancing at the artwork only for content, color and connection. 

Two pieces of art caught my attention outright and merit further review in this blog. “I Know You” by Deanna D’Amico and “Entwined Elements” by Angela Impagliozza are First Place and Best in Show winners respectively. D’Amico’s piece is paired with a piece of writing by Kyle Higgins entitled “I Believe in Giving Away my Shoes”. The work of art is displayed on a pedestal so as to be viewed from two sides.  The influences of Clare Murray Adams cannot be missed. She is included in this show as well and I will assume is a professor of Ms. D’Amico. Waxed shoe laces with remnants of writing are tangled and twisted upon wires strung from tacks set around a wooden frame.  I was reminded of fettuccine noodles by both their color and size as I visually followed their pathways and became entranced by their twisted dance. On the “back side’ were 1.5 inch pins that had pierced the front fabric though unnoticed at first.  These sharp points were aligned in a grid pattern. I did read the text and completely y connected these works as one illustrating the other. 

My Best in Show goes to Angela Impagliozza for her piece in collaboration with the writing of Sarah Dodd entitled “Little Pieces”. Yes, I suffered through the fountain and read her work too. Ms. I’s piece (my spell check hates her name) is just stunning.  I wrote “gorgeous” and underlined it. A wall hanging fiber work of silks and threads and twines is both inviting to touch as well as repulsive by its shredded and dirty appearance. A solid base of silk fabric strips sewn together is mostly hidden behind silk “ribbons” of material that have been dyed, shredded, stained and abused. The translucency of the overlaying layers almost obliterates the underlying base fabrics, but a deceptive sense of space is created by her sophisticated use of knots, weaves and colors. Frankly, I probably would have bought it had there been a price tag.
Which brings me to…….

…the other show in this building. Okay, full disclosure again….I vowed to make Snarky Art a positive and humorous blog. I also want to help educate the community (both art and non art) about the ethics and expectations of being a professional artist. So…..I will not mention a name or a title of the show because A. that is all I got to give and B. this is an excellent learning opportunity.  I found 13 pieces on the wall, all identical in size, identical framing, identical mats and nearly identical imagery. No statement, identification tags, titles, prices, signatures or anything else posted, displayed or on view. I got a name, a title for the show and dates for exhibition. What do we learn from this? Either there are art thieves at Malone who are stealing info off the walls or an artist feels that work can stand on its own. Well, okay…sometimes work can do that, but if I cannot tell the difference between original images and something that could be Xeroxed out of a textbook or old National Geographic’s, then what is your point and purpose for his body of work? Who are you? (statement). Why this series?(statement) Are their more? When did you create them and why? Are they real or imaginary? Are they manipulated or copied? How much are they? What if I like one, how am I to identify it? I did like the 5th and 7th from the left very much but how can I explain that to readers? Where is your signature? Except for some very clever mat cuts to give us a telescopic feel, (black frames would be better), this series, which could be very intriguing, unfortunately fell short of professional expectations. Okay, I will get a nasty comment about this, but so be it. A level of professionalism needs to be established and risen to.  Be proud of what you made, what you did, when you did it, how you did it and why you did it!! If this is an arrogant show of superiority in that the images should override any need for explanation then get with the 21st century dude. We have warning labels on irons to not iron your clothes while wearing them and that coffee is hot so don’t spill it in your lap. The General Public is ignorant for the most part, give us something to devour so we can process your thought process. I liked the work to an extent, and would probably like it more in context. However, being a child of the 1960’s and watching the moon landing live on TV, this display falls short of reality. Uneven lighting in the gallery space did not help. Some pieces had bright spotlights on the spotless mats which drew me to them. For the most part, the other pieces had dull white lights which made the mats warm and uninviting. I suspect that those hideous global warming bulbs are to blame which seem appropriate for this installation in an odd way.

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