Art view by Paulette Thenhaus
The work on display this summer, across the board, is remarkably good. It's not my goal to sell art, but the state of the arts is getting pretty dire for working artists. So when I see such fine work at rock bottom prices, all I can say is, where are the collectors? Even if you've never bought a piece of original art, maybe now is the time to start or to add a piece. Treat yourself ... and help support an artist at the same time.
Galesburg Civic Art Center
114 E. Main St., Galesburg, Illinois
Tim Schroll's exhibit of large format black and white photographs has a theme of places. Though he says most of the work was made within 100 feet from the roadside after stopping, there are just as many taken on a specific, recognizable site; Smoky Mountains, Argyle Lake, Boynton Canyon.
The images are arresting, black and white contrasts are strong, but the gray scale is not forgotten in the views of landscape and architecture. Only artist processed film and printing can achieve this museum quality. Lucky that Schroll says he loves the long hours in the darkroom. He also says he photographs for himself, not for a market. His standards are, nonetheless, very high. The prints are his escape ... capturing one second of life at a time.
A few of the prints are quirky, like the snow covered scene that resembles the Rockies but is in fact a dirt heap covered with snow just outside of Macomb, Illinois. A very successful visual pun. On his road trips Schroll captures the structures and signs of Americana. A vintage Coca-Cola sign painted over rustic shutters is one of them.
His photographs provide a trip through time and place viewed through the photographic vision of an artist.
Akiko Koiso Edmondson
Akiko Koiso Edmondson's stoneware vessels follow the traditional Japanese methods of raku pottery, but she adds her own sculptural design and surface treatment to each unique piece.
For starters, she draws forms on paper before beginning to construct the slab structures. She feels free to invent new shapes within the traditional raku process. A very brief description of raku would be that it involves taking a glowing hot vessel out of the kiln and immersing it in a combustible material such as straw. The clay body becomes stained with carbon, and the glaze will craze (crackle).
In this somewhat unpredictable process, Akiko masterfully controls the pattern and texture of the crazing by an involved process of masking and refiring. Additional trademarks are her sculptural methods of finishing lids. Sometimes natural objects are incorporated, such as sticks and string; other times the clay forms an inventive tongue and groove closure. In a recent body of work titled “Sea for Yourself” hand-formed and intricate aquatic creatures parade around the vessel's rim. They make a laborious process look light hearted.
The exhibits of both artists are up till July 25th, 2009.
319 E. Main St., Galesburg, Illinois
The mastery of a style and technical proficiency in Tanya Pshenychny’s small watercolors suggest someone more mature in years. Yet she is only in her 20's and a relative newcomer to the exhibition circuit.
Born in Kiev, Ukraine, she has lived in Galesburg since she was twelve. She is self-taught but quite well aware of other contemporary illustrators. Her lilting ladies and exotic animals are drawn with a cosmopolitan flair.
She says most of her drawings are from memory and imagination. She feels that new imagery comes to her in the hours that she is half-awake. The imagery is as Surreal as her dreams are.
In "Courage" a small kitten stares into a rippling puddle reflecting a tiger. The meaning is a bit of a mystery, as in all the work, but the draftsmanship is so convincing the viewer tends to look longer and think harder. "Pink Freud" is a pink, striped giraffe. Does it have to do with Freud and free association? The title sounds like Pink Floyd of '70's Rock fame ... This all calls for some imagination on the viewer's part.
Tanya's technique is to first lay down the watercolor and then the sensitive ink line drawing. She says each drawing contains suggestions of both the light and dark side of life. Some are perhaps darker than others, such as "Mafia," a dead tree full of black magpies.
Each work is more than the sum of its parts. There's the beginning of an exploration of the psychic aspects of nature and culture which is surprising and refreshing to find in a emerging talent such as Tanya's.
Her show is up till July 31st.