By Paulette Thenhaus
Ted and Steve Tourlentes: Brothers in Art
Like day and night the Tourlentes brothers, Ted and Steve, turn their camerasÕ focus on opposite worlds. Ted Tourlentes discovers the colorful, close-up world of native prairie plants, going extinct, while Steve Tourlentes hunts nocturnally with his camera to capture distant views of prison complexes in desolate landscapes.
Ted isnÕt simply photographing beautiful plants, heÕs carefully documenting and recording the 3,000 endangered acres of native Illinois prairie. His motivation is prairie restoration and conservation. But the artful compositions of his full-blown images donÕt reveal the real threat of urbanization. Only accompanying exhibit hand-outs state the sad statistics. Though the exhibit is a start, it leads me to suggest a photo book with text. A book (or website) may present the abundant research more relevantly than a gallery of breath-taking flowers fully alive with color.
SteveÕs large-scale (approx. 28Ó x 30Ó) black and white photographs, made under the cover of night, have the chilling air of secrecy and surveillance. Since the images are of prison complexes, almost hidden in remote terrains, the darkness only adds to the sinister aspects of their punitive functions. Stark artificial light is the only light. As a criminal hides the crime, the prison system masks its own existence — at least thatÕs what the photographs suggest.
One thing both brothers have in common is using photographic beauty to shed light on their environmental and social causes.
The photographs are now on view around the Round Room at Knox CollegeÕs Ford Center for the Arts.
319 E. Main Street, Galesburg
Marjorie Blackwell has a selection of small abstract acrylic paintings and a half dozen representational works on display through November.
KaldiÕs Coffee Shop and Tea Room
124 E. Simmons Street, Galesburg
Black and white photographs by Monmouth artist, John Vellenga are on view. Some are new takes on old favorites.