Art View          Paulette Thenhaus


GALEX 42 … The Digital Age


There's no question that this year's selections for the GALEX 42 at the Galesburg Civic Art Center are technically refined works with a decidedly graphic look. To me the work is rather polished and restrained.

I know this year's juror, Sandra Camomile, is from the Digital Arts and Multimedia Design and Computer Science Department of the University of Utah. Though there is only one installation, ”Strike” by Curtis Bracher, which has TV screen and DVD (broken in shipment), there are quite a few digital entries. Roy Drasites' Epson Print, "Gallery Floor," garnered the Grand Award. His large print of visually textured and patterned saw horses and ladders is, perhaps, the most colorful in the show. He has entered the competition since its inception.

Even the paintings are representational and more linear than painterly. The large canvas "Manic" with two figures around a sofa is an example. It's realism with a photographic feel down to the folds of the clothing.

One abstraction, "Chameleon" by Tom Mc Court, is engaging primarily because of its media, encaustic. From the layered mute color of wax emerges a biomorphic undulating shape of green. Its edges are clearly defined too.

Four area artists are represented, but since there is no information in the gallery on where the other artists are from, I can't comment on the mix. Of five contenders for the sculpture prize, Stacy Lotz of Monmouth got the award for “Harvest-Pesticide Ready.” The piece is of a number of raku fired ceramic ears of shucked corn. Rusty tire rubber forms the husk. It is an odd combination of media but a strong statement.

The juror states that a balance between content and originality is an important factor in her selection process. Brian G. Lewandowski's black and white photograph "Sorry the Ocean is Closed," with a gleaming diamond network of steel door barring entrance to a pier, is a good example of message with an original eye and image. He received an Award of Excellence.

As the juror wished, there is a variety of media and ideas in GALEX 42. The show reflects the digital age and, to some degree, an environmental crisis in the making. But, not to worry, it is all stated rather politely ... and within the lines.