Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Fine Art of Stargazing

The Fine Art of Stargazing

By Tom Wachunas

In her large-print, plain-spoken statement on the long north wall at Anderson Creative, Emily Vigil sums up her explanation and thoughts about her ambitious “Constellations Of Women” installation with these words: “As I continue in the early years of my marriage, a new stage of my career, and now, as I prepare to become a new mother, I am learning from the women you see pictured in this installation. Their struggles, talents, sorrows, courage, and laughter surround me. Like the constellations, they are there, changing patterns when I change my point of view…”

Suddenly the accompanying, very large display of small hexagonal cyanotype prints of faces, places and other odds and ends – a star chart facsimile of sorts – takes on a life of its own. On the wall opposite the statement and “star map” is a mixed media work by Vigil called “Milky Way.” It’s a densely packed, loosely composed collage depicting a seated woman (self portrait?) surrounded by various personal and stellar figurations, and clearly illustrative of the concept behind the show. Vigil has gathered fourteen other women artists to fill out the exhibit with a wide range of media.

On a personal level, then, the show is a fascinating testament about the women with whom Vigil has forged meaningful connections over the past few years. And on a more general, cosmic plane, if you will, the show speaks to the inspiration, nourishment and indeed light that comes from intentionally seeking and growing a community. So here is yet another excellent Anderson Creative offering, generous in its depth of compelling images and objects.

Clare Murray Adams’ “Entourage” is a grouping of three fiber sculptures that brings to mind canvas tents or strange vertical handbags. Carrying cases for private memories? What they may symbolize seems to be literally (each has an opening at the top) open for interpretation. In any event, there is about them a simple yet mystical air of rural domesticity.

The works by Katherine Cox are similarly intriguing, and marvelously well-crafted. Her meticulous graphite renderings on handmade paper - codified constructions depicting simple, ghost-like house forms rising out of Nature’s delicate aura – exude a spirit of gentle, elegant antiquity. And that same spirit, as well as remarkable drawing skill, is at work in “Them Bones,” a drawing of skeletal ephemera by Sandra Thouvenin.

“Xanthoria Parientina I” is an electrifying acrylic painting by Isin Sezer. It might be a view of organic minutiae, a floral arrangement, a still life, or a haunting landscape in the abstract. With its masterfully orchestrated variation of fluid marks, shapes and enthralling brush work (and those colors!), call it a mesmerizing symphony for the eyes.

Mesmerizing, too, is “Indian Madonna and Child,” a digital photo on canvas, enhanced with oil paint, by Sabina Haque. This is an awkward portrait, to be sure, even perhaps a bit cloying with its skewed halo and sloppily cropped edges. The overly-casual melding of modern and traditional media subtly serves to reflect the work’s conceptual duality – conflicting cultures occupying the same frame with equal insistence. Yet for all of this tension, the work, like so much of this show, exudes a quiet beauty.

Photo: “Xanthoria Parientina I” acrylic, by Isin Sezer, on view through June 25 at Anderson Creative in the exhibit “Constellations Of Women,” 331 Cleveland Avenue NW, downtown Canton. Gallery hours are 12:00 noon to 5:00p.m., Tuesday- Saturday.

To read more about this project, go to Emily Vigil’s blog at:

No comments: