Art view Paulette Thenhaus
Now at the Buchanan
The art work of twelve Monmouth College faculty, past and present, are on view till November 25th at the Buchanan Center for the Arts in Monmouth, Illinois. A booklet introduces each faculty member with artist's statements.
While most of the artists are pursuing their familiar art territory, a handful are braving new directions and media. Carla Markwart (1998-2004) is one of those artists, as is Harlow Blum, Professor of Art Emeritus (forty years of teaching).
Markwart has taken a dramatic turn from realism and natural colors in painting to abstraction and vibrating color in her new cityscapes. "#1 Downtown North" is about 6' x 4', paint on paper. It is an architectural study of downtown Galesburg as well as a "stripe" painting reminiscent of the 1960's-1970's. The stripes are painted freehand and one at a time. Markwart's professional background includes an interest in architectural design and model making, so the imagesŐ geometric images come to her naturally. She uses her construction principles to make the flattened cityscape pop. Stripes can be read as showing depth or as an optical game of advancing and receding color. She has a unique way of mounting the large paper so it looks to be a work under construction.
In his artist's statement, Blum describes the bulbous shapes and abstract compositions in his new work as "melting fields of polar ice" ... effects of polar warming. His surprising newfound medium is recycled, torn industrial foam mounted on panels as large as 8' x 4'. Even with an ominous subject matter, the lustrous, tactile reliefs (some several inches deep) have evocative tittles. "Iridescent Iceberg" is one of them. All four of the pieces can lay claim to iridescent color in blue white and umber. Only "Golden Fall" differs from the rest with it's diagonal stripes applied with a chalking gun. It glistens with gold beads suggestive of moisture.
Most of the artist/teachers are showing work that they are known for in the area. Instead of trying to catalogue everyone I will give a few artistsŐ works to find on your own. How about looking inside of one of Tom Foley's peace signs for images? What unusual color choice does Tyler Henning make to brighten up dogs playing pool? How does Marjorie Blackwell create transparency and what makes the work microcosmic? What symbols make Lisa Mohr's canvases both contemporary and primitive?
With the above suggestions in mind, spend some time with all of the work. Ask your own questions of it. These are the teachers of the next generation of area artists.