Art view Paulette Thenhaus
Knox faculty artists
''The Knox College Art Faculty Exhibit: Past and Present" at the Galesburg Civic Art Center, is more of a visual catalogue documenting those who taught in the Art Department since 1940 than it is a show of major works by the Knox faculty. Gregory Gilbert, chair, Art and Art History, has compiled a very informative booklet giving a brief history of the Studio Art Program at the college from 1885 to the present. Short rŽsumŽs of twenty of the faculty members, past and present, and their tenure dates are listed. There's no doubt it is an important reference document.
The exhibit is another question. Some of the past faculty are represented by work borrowed from local permanent collections: Galesburg Civic Art Center, Knox College and Joanne Goudie. It's work we've seen before ... Fredrick Ortner's self portrait...George Rickey's Midwestern landscape ... Missing are paintings by current painting teachers Lynette Lombard and Claire Sherman. Instead Lombard shows an energetically drawn charcoal mountainscape, while Sherman shows a monotype of circular shapes surrounded by hatched lines titled simply "Pebbles." Both pieces pale beside their large canvases.
One small oil, "Study for the Painting Lesson," by recent former professor Jeremy Long (2003-2006), is like a small radiant jewel. It is similar to many studies he does before composing a major large-scale work. Even in this "model," the architectural and figurative blend as do classical composition with modern geometrical abstraction. The canvas is an active color study.
By comparison, on an opposite wall is a rowdy cardboard construction from 2006 by Dan Southard. The Cubistic relief juts out into the viewer's space. Colorful human and plant 3-D forms jostle around in a carefree manner.
Harland Goudie, who taught at Knox from 1954 to 1990, offers the most humorous work. It's a life-size, realistic portrait of his mother whacking his teenage head with a yardstick. The medium is canvas covered board cut out like a paper doll. The teenage head has no body and it protrudes from the wall like a basketball. What a way to remember "Mom."
Tony Gant's mixed media, raw wood and nails relief is intriguing, as is the title, "Alpha: Beta, dotting my eyes" (2008). Though the assemblage of narrow pieces of wood (including a paint stir stick) is relatively flat, the dipped-in-paint color of the pieces advances and recedes from the thinly coated yellow background. A board in back of the relief pops out from the top and bottom; another is nailed to the side. Both break rectangular format and add to the illusion of depth. In this intellectual game, a microphone hangs from a wound cord. Perhaps dotting the "i"?
There are three functional clay works on display. Tetsuya Yamada's "Fountain Study" of a refined canteen is smooth and white in clay body and a white glaze. Its easy to imagine it as a monumental sculpture.
The Art Department has expanded to include digital photography as represented by Christie Cirone's photograph of superimposed metal grills and figures and Jonathon Cancro's multiple video of bouncing balls.
This show and accompanying catalogue prove the Knox College art department has left behind the 20th century (but documented it) and fully entered the 21st century.
The exhibit at the Galesburg Civic Art Center, 114 E. Main Street, is up till November 8th.
319 E. Main Street, Galesburg
Artist Mary Lowman is showing the people and animals in her life. There are numerous new portraits of the Sandman, a local motorcyclist. Lowman's animals have a humorous life of their own. The exhibit is up through November.
124 E. Simmons Street, Galesburg
Up close Cora Markwart's brilliant palette reveals surprising color harmonies and contrasts where least expected in houses, flowers and still life. Exhibit up through November.
* ÒArt viewÓ received a second place in the 2008 Reviews, Division A of the Illinois Press competition.