Art view Paulette Thenhaus
Darrel Roberts & David Griffin
Darrel Roberts provides viewers a chance to experience paint. He is a painter's painter. His love of the media oozes from each small canvas. No bigger than 12" x 16", but giving the illusion of a pound of paint on each color drenched piece.
Some paintings have eight layers built up over months, some years. Marks of brush hairs and swishes of the palette knife are visible. In places, paint looks as if it where squeezed directly from a tube. The viewer may or may not like the rawness of technique but one cannot argue with the palpable appeal to all the senses.
Besides the textures made from art tools, the artist also uses actual tactile textures such as pumice in images “Chicago Gravel Pit” and “New Chicago Construction.”
There are works with recognizable subject matter, for instance, "Winter Fireplace Series." Others are more illusive such as "Chicago Rubble." Roberts draws inspiration equally from walks around Chicago construction sites and the city's parks. He is not a slave to representation by any means, rather, he interprets, abstractly, his immediate surroundings.
What Roberts creates is akin to sculptural relief. The paint wraps around the canvas edges. He claims the works are equally impressive when viewed from a side angle, where the thick paint casts shadows.
Each canvas, though modest in scale, is an eyeful of juicy paint and color.
Four of David Griffin's vessels in "Nature: Deconstructed" create an exhibit within an exhibit. A single piece, "Femella," may be a key to understanding the meaning and structure of the entire exhibit.
Griffin says he uses traditional vessel shapes, but "Femella," like the rest, has a decidedly feminine, modern, tapering shape. It conveys a natural message, too. One wonders just how the elongated branches suspended in the vase where made. They are actually the real thing, just shop turned. The vessel is made of layers of man-made materials and metals, including copper. Plastic resin and trex are also included. The final product is both manmade and nature-made.
"Vessel #2" in the series incorporates a more common vase shape set on a metal grating and brimming with cascading leaves of many metals.
Throughout the exhibit Griffin's fine metal-smithing and jewelry making precision is demonstrated. There's a delicacy and invention that is intriguing in the multimedia processes employed in each piece.
The selection of the two artists to show together was a well-made choice that enhances the work of both artists.
The exhibit continues at the Galesburg Civic Art Center till May 16, 2009. (309)342-7415.
April 23, 2009