Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Pulpitudes

 

PULPITUDES 


Buried Alive For Four Months

The Devil Beast Of Tuz Golu

The Man Who Snuffed Out Hell

Jet-Sled Raid on Russia's Ice Cap Pleasure Stockade

The Shy Killer

By Tom Wachunas 

"I learned how to compose, how to tell a story. There's no way I could have done what I did later if I hadn't had all that men's adventure magazine work." -Mort Künstler 

EXHIBIT: Mort Künstler: “The Godfather” of Pulp Fiction Illustration / at the Canton Museum of Art (CMA), 1001 Market Avenue North, Canton, Ohio / organized by the Heckscher Museum of Art, Huntington, NY and toured by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC / THROUGH JULY 3, 2021 / Facemasks required–

Visit www.cantonart.org/reservetickets    330.453.7666

Tuesday - Thursday: 10 am – 8 pm /Friday - Saturday: 10 am – 5 pm; Sunday: 1 – 5 pm / Regular Admission: Adults - $8, Seniors (60+) & Students (with ID) - $6 / Children (12 & under) and Museum Members – FREE / FREE ADMISSION on Thursdays

 BACKGROUND, excerpted from CMA MAGAZINE: “Mort Künstler is recognized as America’s premier painter and chronicler of authentic American history, especially noted for his incomparable renderings of Civil War events. The artist began his career, however, as an illustrator during the golden age of pulp fiction books and magazines… In a sense, he became “The Don” of illustrated pulp fiction, a title that alludes to that prodigious writer of pulp fiction, Mario Puzo, and his illustrious novel The Godfather. Puzo had a work ethic akin to Künstler’s, and the two collaborated on many assignments during their years working for Magazine Management Company, Inc. Künstler created the original visuals for Puzo’s Mafia saga, which influenced future depictions of Vito Corleone, including Marlon Brando’s iconic portrayal of The Don in the 1972 Oscar-winning film The Godfather…

   Mort Künstler: “The Godfather” of Pulp Fiction Illustrators features more than 80 original illustrations by Künstler that enlivened the covers and pages of American paperback books and magazines such as True, Argosy, Stag, For Men Only, Male, Adventure, and Saga, throughout the pulp heyday of the 1950s and ‘60s. Most of these illustrations are being exhibited publicly for the first time, and their subjects are wide-ranging and unabashedly action-packed: military conflicts, criminal heists, Cold War espionage, man against nature, and much more. Nobody captured hardboiled action better than Mort Künstler. His illustrations embody the very essence of the pulp era.”

   Let’s start with considering three quotes. First this, from American photographer Aaron Siskind (1903-1991): “In any art, you don't know in advance what you want to say - it's revealed to you as you say it. That's the difference between art and illustration.”  Next, from American writer and comic book artist Brian Stelfreeze:  I think there's art, and then there's illustration. Art comes from a deeper place.” And then this, from American painter Frank Stella: “…But, after all, the aim of art is to create space - space that is not compromised by decoration or illustration, space within which the subjects of painting can live.”

   Folks have been yakking about the supposed difference between “fine art” and “illustration” for centuries. In the quotes I cited here (and there are myriad others that I could have chosen as examples), there’s the snarky hint of illustration thought to be merely something. Something diminutive and inconsequential, something shallow, something weightless. As if to categorically declare, from the highbrow pulpits of aesthetic snobbery, that art is art and illustration is illustration and ne’er the twain shall meet. To that I say balderdash and baloney, fiddle-faddle and flapdoodle, humbug, hooey, hogwash and hokum. And lest I forget, piffle and poppycock and thank you very much Merriam-Webster.

    Illustration can signify many things to many people, depending upon taste and context. In the context of painting, for example, it seems to me that the practice of illustration has been too easily stigmatized as commercial entertainment. Perhaps the most laughable dismissal of illustration as art lies in the idea that illustrators lack originality because their imagery is nothing more than a translation of a written story. Tommyrot and twaddle. On that basis, why shouldn’t we write off countless representational painters through the entirety of art history - including all those beloved Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical painters of old, for example - as mere hacks?

   Consider one more quote, from British illustrator Quentin Blake: “I suppose illustration tends to live in the streets, rather than in the hermetically sealed atmosphere of the museum, and consequently it has come to be taken less seriously.”

    Ironic, isn’t it? Here we are, in a museum, seriously filled with “mere” illustrations. Paintings. Most of them show a marvelous mastery of the gouache medium (opaque watercolor).  Mort Künstler’s compositions, drawn from stories, are exciting visual adventures rendered with stunning precision and a compelling flare for the theatrical. Come look. If you find them “entertaining,” more power to them, and to you. It’s an offer you shouldn’t refuse.  

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Radiant Recall

 

Radiant Recall 


Merry go round

In the Garden

Sunshine Corner

Up on the Roof

All the Way to China

Mom's Prom

By Tom Wachunas 

“Memory is a complicated thing, a relative to truth, but not its twin.” -Barbara Kingsolver

“One lives in the hope of becoming a memory.”  - Antonio Porchia

“A memory is what is left when something happens and does not completely unhappen.”  - Edward de Bono

“…The intention is not to fix or memorialize time, but instead excavate a specific memory, perpetuating movement and inviting participation. The work depicts the slippery efforts of the mind's eye to pause and preserve disintegrating memories..." – David King 

EXHIBIT: Time Travel – Paintings by David King, at Vital Arts Gallery /  324 Cleveland Ave NW, downtown Canton, Ohio / Through June 12, 2021 – ONLY A FEW DAYS REMAINING !!  Gallery hours are Wednesday 4:00 to 8:00 p.m., Thursday-Saturday, 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

   I often marvel at the magic of human memory. Our ability to remember the people, places and things we experienced in the past is a powerful and, make no mistake, mystical one.

   To recall and recollect feelings, states of mind, and even physical sensations, is a treasure. And yet it’s also a treasure confounding in its fragility and transience. Over time, even our fondest memories accumulate so abundantly into the mass that is our being that they can be crushed under their own weight, like gemstones pulverized and dispersed into glistening dust.

   So if a memory, especially an old one, can be said to be a magic show, it is nonetheless a fleeting encounter. Such memories might require a grand sleight of mind and heart to activate and preserve them. And interestingly enough, it is often the very potent work of a skilled painter – a prestidigitator in his or her own right - that can do the trick.   

  For this eye-popping exhibit of oil-and-acrylic works on canvas, Cleveland Heights artist David King was inspired by family movies and photos some 50 to 60 years old. While his imagery is narrative in a general sort of way, it isn’t a stylistically meticulous, literal realism at work here. Think of these loose, painterly remembrances more as a lateral poeticizing. Memory in motion. Yes, there’s something of a nostalgic spirit about them - a dreamlike if not surreal charm - but never one that gets too mired in gushy sentimentality.

   What makes the sense of spontaneity and freshness in these works all the more present is King’s intensely charged palette. There’s a not-in-Kansas-anymore quirkiness in the way his hot fluorescent colors irradiate the scenes with a dynamic energy, transforming so many thens into utterly new nows.

   I could be wrong, but I’m thinking that for David King, looking at all those old movie reels or photos must surely have been an incipient experience. A personal epiphany. So he celebrated it by wielding his paintbrush like a magic wand.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Diaphanous Realms

 

Diaphanous Realms 


Soft, early

the forever of stars

distant disturbances (detail)

distant disturbances

refracted shimmer

deep into

Rock Cloud and the Skywalkermothergoddess (detail)

Rock Cloud and the Skywalkermothegoddess

By Tom Wachunas 

EXHIBIT: Suspended Animations / work by Rebecca Cross, at STUDIO M in Massillon Museum / 121 Lincoln Way East, downtown Massillon, Ohio, THROUGH JUNE 16, 2021 / Tuesday through Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday 2:00 to 5:00 / 330.833.4061

https://massillonmuseum.org/

LEARN MORE HERE:   https://massillonmuseum.org/538

   “…I was compelled to draw elements of these invented biomorphic figures because I was curious about drawing on dyed silk fabric with equally ethereal pastels. But I also sought in these pieces the immersion of slow work over time. Placing these drawings within dyed waterscapes brought together my concerns about environmental catastrophe with the vast Lake Erie horizon, which I regularly contemplate as I think.”  -Rebecca Cross

   This marvelous exhibit (of seven large wall pieces and one sculptural installation) is among the most enthralling unions of elegant craft and compelling concept I’ve seen in recent years.

   Rebecca Cross’s large colored wall pieces (4’ x 5’) – from her recent Horizons series - are chalk pastel drawings on dyed silk. Cross writes about their intriguing translucent surfaces in her statement for the show: “… what complicates the immediate apprehension of these drawings is a reflective feature of silk organza called moiré: the curvilinear effect on the surface of the finely woven silk created when the silk is sized through caliendering presses when processed into fabric.”

   These drawings have uncanny depth, at once real and illusory. Each one appears to be comprised of two individual planes with a only a tiny bit of physical space between them – the result of draping the large piece of silk over a rod attached to the gallery wall, like a translucent curtain.

    Aqueous and ethereal, Cross’s abstractions aren’t static objects to be viewed in any casual manner. They’re not pictures in the conventional sense so much as interactive, indeed spiritual experiences. Animated moments in time. To look at them is to see into them, to partner with them, as if engaging in a kind of slow dance. As you move, they move, buoyant and breathing in a pulsing response to your relative position in space. How far away are you standing, or how near? Look up, then down. Look to the left, then right. As you alter your perspective, you become increasingly absorbed in shimmering gossamer expanses of luminous, undulating color. Look closer still, and individual linear marks come into sharper focus: flecks and squiggles, specks that wriggle into organic shapes. Ghostlike traces. Remnants. Fossils. Memories of living things.

   A similar sense of immersion in the ephemeral is even more palpable in Cross’s stunning installation called Rock Cloud and the Skywalkermothergoddess. It’s a metaphorical moment of frozen flux. Here is a consideration of nature’s mutability in the form of contrasted modes of being – solids and air, hard and soft, substance and shadow, present and past. Gravity itself seems to have been inactivated. All those weighty white stones float in a suspended state of equanimity with their blue silk counterparts that look like bubbles or tiny clouds or maybe the shed skins of former stones. Call it all a mesmerizing Erie meditation.    

Thursday, May 27, 2021

A Healing Return to the Stage




 

A Healing Return to the Stage from the Canton Symphony Orchestra 

By Tom Wachunas 

“Wisps of cloud and mist, are lit from above, breeze in the foliage and wind in the reeds, and all is scattered.”  - from first part of Faust, the lyric poem by Johan Wolfgang von Goethe, and the inspiration for the third movement of Felix Mendelssohn’s Octet for Strings 

     Reasons to be cheerful: They’re back! The May 23 concert by the Canton Symphony Orchestra (CSO) marked the first time in more than a year that the ensemble has performed live at Umstaddt Performing Arts Hall. This occasion was certainly an important step on the road back to cultural “normalcy” as we recover from the dreadful pandemic shutdown.

   For a May 21 article by Ed Balint in The Repository (Canton’s daily newspaper), CSO president and CEO Michelle Charles said of the concert, “That's what we do, that's what we love and that's why we exist, to perform music live. You do take for granted how readily available (classical music) is until it's not. So I think it's going to be very emotional."  Noting that the concert was especially significant to Gerhardt Zimmermann, CSO music director and conductor since 1980, she added, "It's been so long, and Canton has held a special place in his heart for many, many years. I think it's going to be more emotional for him than anyone." The emotional factor becomes even more resonant when considering Zimmermann’s own battle with coronavirus which led to weeks of hospitalization and rehabilitation in 2020. He’s still not at optimal strength, and consequently conducted the program while seated on a raised platform.

   This short concert (with no intermission) was an altogether unique sensory experience, and not a CSO business-as-usual affair. Zimmermann chose just two works to be on the program: Felix Mendelssohn’s Octet for Strings, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Symphony No. 29. Covid protocols were in place. Umstattdt Hall, a 1,400- seat venue, felt eerily empty as the audience was limited to a total of 300 attendees, most seated in socially distanced manner, and all required to wear masks, as were the musicians spaced widely across the stage.

   From the very start of Mendelssohn’s grand Octet, the palpable esprit de corps between Maestro Zimmermann and the ensemble (four violins, two violas, two cellos) was a pleasure to behold - inspired and inspiring. At once fiery and flamboyant, delicate and precise, the vigorous sound emanating from this small group during the first movement (and for that matter the entire work) was a warm embrace of the inventive composer’s youthful panache, and his instructions that the work “…be played by all the instruments in a symphonic orchestral style. Pianos and fortes must be strictly observed…”  Mendelssohn’s Octet is a masterpiece calling for virtuosity from all the players to varying degrees, but none more so than from the first violin. Here, the vibrant playing by Emily Cornelius was exquisite. Her arpeggios often soared to ravishing heights above the intricate syncopations and lovely harmonies being crisply articulated beneath.

   Pausing after the long first movement, Zimmermann turned briefly to the audience and with a broad smile said, “How sweet it is.” Then it was on to the gentle textures and beautiful phrasing of the lyrical Andante movement, followed by the bewitching Scherzo, seemingly transporting us to a magical forest wherein nocturnal spirits scurry about. And finally, the robust fourth movement Presto. Here was a dazzling, ebullient romp, truly symphonic in scope, first announced by the cellos, then quickly rippling through the whole ensemble at a furious tempo with an explosive, infectious energy.

   That same spirit of infectious energy was present in a rousing performance of what is widely considered to be Mozart’s first symphonic masterpiece, his Symphony No. 29. Though originally scored for a smaller-scaled orchestra (here there were 29 instruments including strings, a pair of oboes and a pair of French horns), the CSO dispatched all of Mozart’s vigor and lyricism, his melodic grace and frolicsome wit, with impressive clarity and robust sonority, all of it bringing a very grateful audience to its feet.     

   In his brilliant virtual pre-concert lecture, Professor MJ Albacete noted that both works on this program were written when the composers were astonishingly young -  Mendelssohn was 17 years old, Mozart was 18 - and were of major importance in their respective aesthetic evolutions. Further, he offered this moving personal observation about what he called a subliminal connection between the works and their symbolic meaning for our current time and circumstances: “Both begin in joy, descend into a period of serenity – you might even say melancholy – but revive with hope and expectation and conclude with a sense of triumph and rejoicing, returning to the way things were not so very long ago. Great music can also be a remedy for the spirit and the soul. So may it be for all of us in the days and weeks to follow.”

   How sweet it is indeed. 

Friday, May 7, 2021

Familiar Fare

 

 Familiar Fare


Gold Self Portrait, by Heather Bullach

In A World Gone Crazy..., by Judi Krew

We're not in Kansas Anymore, Toto. by Sally Lytle

Circle of Life, by Wanda Montgomery

Boston Bricks I, by Diane Belfiglio

Bourbon and Cigar, by Todd Bergert

Boole, by Dave Kuntzman

By Tom Wachunas 

   EXHIBIT: 78th Annual May Show, at The Little Art Gallery, located in North Canton Public Library, 185 N Main St, North Canton, Ohio,  through May 29, 2021. Viewing hours: Monday – Friday: 10 a.m to 6 p.m. / Saturday: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Best in Show - Heather Bullach, Gold Self Portrait, Oil / Second Place -  Sally Lytle, We’re not in Kansas Anymore, Toto, Oil /Third Place -  Wanda Montgomery,  Circle of Life, Mixed Media / Honorable Mention - Scott Coleman, Diamond Beach, Media: Photography / Honorable Mention - Nancy Darrah, Stepping Out, Watercolor /Honorable Mention -  David L. Dingwell,  Colfax Blues, Photography

   This year’s competition was juried by Dennis Kleidon and Rose Kleidon. Here are their catalogued comments: “This year’s May Show is a dramatic, mood-setting experience. Many of the strongest pieces contain an atmosphere within their messages, expressing fear, anxiety, serenity, and contemplation. Almost all of the submissions were technically competent. We saw many beautiful examples in pencil, watercolor, oil, acrylic and mixed-medium, and we commend all participants for this. The submissions that stand out also had something more to say—a message, a mood or a story that the artist tried to bring to the surface. These pieces make a statement beyond technical competency. These underlying messages give the show its personality.”

   There might be an implied promise in the juror’s comments, setting up an expectation of a satisfying, maybe great gallery experience. But in the end, we’re in largely subjective territory here. Expectations are fragile things; easily ballooned and easily deflated. In that regard, this exhibit is a little disappointing in its depth and variety of iconographic content.

    For starters, in numbers alone, this year’s show, with just 28 works from 26 artists, is substantially smaller than any May Show I’ve seen in the past 12 years or so. The physical space of the gallery itself feels somewhat empty. Incomplete. Even the show’s one and only free-standing 3D piece has been pushed seemingly out of the way, placed too close to a brick wall, like some sort of unobtrusive sentinel. Still, it’s a marvelously crafted and intricate patchwork garment embroidered with many evocative words by Judi Krew, called “In A World Gone Crazy We Hide Behind Our Labels And Share Words Of ____!”   

   There’s an unfortunate scarcity of purely abstract works. In that category, Dave Kuntzman’s acrylic painting called “Boole” is a thoroughly captivating vision of precisely delineated, interlocking luminous grids. A wondrous feat of spatial playfulness.

   Diane Belfiglio’s oil pastel “Boston Bricks” is a hypnotic blend of both representational (i.e., identifiable) and abstract elements. The illusory brick surface, itself a grid, bristles with chromatic textures bathed in sunlight and intersected by striking, translucent shadows shooting across the picture plane at contrasting angles.   

   Otherwise, the exhibit does indeed heavily favor conventionally framed 2D works of a representational or illusory nature (landscape, still life, floral, portraiture, figural, etc.). Most of these works, as the jurors noted, are “technically competent.” And nowhere in this exhibit is technical acuity more elegantly evident than in the oil painting by Heather Bullach, “Gold Self Portrait.”  The piece should have been displayed on an actual gallery wall where it can more freely breathe its classical grace and dignity. Instead, it’s tucked away like a curio in one of the gallery’s glass showcases.

   What most of the works in this exhibit share, to varying degrees, is a nostalgic preciousness and an intimacy that creates an aura of celebrating the familiar, the pretty and pristine.  And though it’s true that I missed seeing the kind of art that doesn’t need to appropriate so much of literal reality to be beautiful, I do respect the stylistic finesse and sincerity present in the works of many of the artists here. To all of them I say thanks for the memories.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Navigating Interior and Exterior Forces

 

Navigating Interior and Exterior Forces


Undergirded, by Michelle Mulligan

Turn, Turn, Turn, by Priscilla Roggenkamp

Strong as Nails, by Clare Murray Adams

Agree to Disagree, by Sarah McMahon

Breaking Out, by Judith Sterling

Perseverance, by Heather Bullach

Creativity Killers,  by Gail Trunik

Sekhmet, by Laura Kolinski-Schultz

By Tom Wachunas 

   “Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another."  - Toni Morrison

   "There is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind."  - Virginia Woolf

   “A woman is human. She is not better, wiser, stronger, more intelligent, more creative, or more responsible than a man. Likewise, she is never less. Equality is a given. A woman is human.”         -  ----- Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

   EXHIBIT: Women of Resilience / an invitational exhibition featuring 25 women artists, curated by Priscilla Roggenkamp, Judith Sterling, and Patricia O’Neill Sacha / at Massillon Museum, 121 Lincoln Way East, downtown Massillon, Ohio / Through May 23, 2021 - Exhibiting artists include: Clare Murray Adams, Ruthie Akuchie, Kathleen Browne, Heather Bullach, Sarah Curry, Annette Yoho Feltes, J. Leigh Garcia, Laura Kolinski-Schultz, Charmaine Lurch, Sarah McMahon, Erin Mulligan, Michelle Mulligan, Patricia O’Neill Sacha, Mary Kaye O’Neill, Cynthia Petry, Priscilla Roggenkamp, Judith Sterling, Sylvia Treisel, Gail Trunick, Michele Waalkes, Gwen Waight, Jo Westfall, Gail Wetherell Sack, Laurel Winters and Kiana Zigler.

https://massillonmuseum.org/  

 From the exhibit statement: “...Twenty-five artists have explored a variety of topics in traditional and non-traditional media.  These topics include: personal empowerment, overcoming barriers, the capacity to recover, acts of strength and resistance, and healing the world and ourselves… the need to assert one’s place at the table and in the world continues…this exhibition reminds us that art remains an important vehicle for activism.

   Though the impetus for this exhibit was to celebrate the centennial of women’s suffrage, the formal and conceptual scope of the exhibit is substantially broader and more complex than simply a woman’s right to vote in national elections per se. You could call this remarkably diverse exhibit a communal incantation, or invocation of sorts. Here is a calling forth of past and present circumstances, attitudes, evolutions. It’s a symbolic journey through our culture still so fraught with vexing challenges to women having and holding a viable place at the table of human living. Women seeking an equi-table, if you will.  

   Sekhmet is an exquisite, lavishly glazed and painted stoneware statue by Laura Kolinski-Schultz. The piece is named for the powerful ancient Egyptian deity traditionally represented as a lion-headed woman. She was worshipped both as a ferocious warrior wreaking punishment on her enemies, and a generous healer – a kind of patron saint of doctors. In this context, consider her not as a mythological divinity, but as an earthbound force - a strong-willed woman.

    With one eye swollen shut and the other meeting ours in a piercing stare, Creativity Killers, by Gail Trunick, is a clay figure of a tormented woman. An anguished soul. Her flesh is incised with words, cut like so many stab wounds. Vicious imperatives and judgements. Keep Quiet. You’re Too Old! You’ll never amount to anything. You’re not talented enough…  Words meant to silence a voice. Words uttered to obliterate dreams. Words too often heard in the patriarchal meritocracy of our time. Yet words she hears with one eye open.

   In Perseverance, a stunning self-portrait oil painting by Heather Bullach, both of her eyes are wide open in a look of unflinching determination. The canvas is infused with red, as if illuminated by a fire close by. A crisis? Unscathed, she appears to be running, but not in a state of panic so much as with palpable confidence, out from the confines of the picture plane, toward us and a new destination.

    A similar sense of undaunted tenacity is evident in Judith Sterling’s fused glass and ceramic work, Breaking Out. It’s an episodic rendering of an escape. A woman is in the process of literally shattering the ceiling of the glass box that had imprisoned her - the box of societal biases, assumptions and expectations that can stifle a woman in fully realizing her identity and potential.

   With her intriguing textile piece (handwoven on a computerized jacquard loom), Agree to Disagree, Sarah McMahon also presents a boxed-in woman, though not in escape mode. Interestingly, when you stand within inches of the work, it appears as a vast plane of pixelated patterns. An abstraction. With more physical viewing distance from the cotton surface, the woman’s form fully materializes. McMahon’s statement articulates it brilliantly: “…The computer and body relationship is in fact very meaningful…digital and analog working together, standing in and overlapping for the psychological and physical. The imagery here comes down to defining interior and exterior forces, and how we navigate existence and space as minds inside a body (a concept that becomes more elusive the more it is pondered: fragile, squishy bags carrying around an awareness of being fragile, squishy bags).

   I don’t take from this that women are by definition any more fragile or squishy than men. That’s just one arguable condition of humanity in general. Other conditions can be constituted of sterner stuff. Consider Clare Murray Adams’ homage to the history of strong, influential women in her mixed media work, Strong as Nails. In the chest cavity of a fabric-sculpted torso is a window – a soul – through which we see a pile of rusted nails – memories of real work. On the wall next to this object are image transfers, hung from rusted washers, showing the faces of 36 accomplished women who collectively have affected human existence for the better.

   The title of Priscilla Roggenkamp’s impressive fabric and repurposed clothing work – Turn, Turn, Turn – is a reference to a phrase in the biblical book of Ecclesiastes (and the Pete Seeger song): “To every things there is a season, a time to every purpose under heaven.”  The 10 dress styles are based essentially on a single form, though with subtle variations. It’s an evolved sameness that nevertheless speaks to a woman’s adaptability in roles, duties, and identities amid the the constancy of change, whether consciously chosen or simply inevitable.

   The placement of Michelle Mulligan’s mixed media Undergirded, on a low pedestal and directly to the left of Roggenkamp’s much larger work, is particularly fascinating. A time to every purpose under heaven indeed.

   Mulligan’s piece is a small upright book, it’s thick pages exposed just enough so we can read her hand-printed meditations, along with an anatomical image of a human heart. The book’s cover is intricately sewn with ornamental doilies and pieces of colored fabric.  This intimate, charming tome seems to be at once a mother’s diary and prayer book, containing innermost reflections from the heart of a woman of faith, a lover of God and family.

   Turn, turn, turn. I’ve mentioned only some of the many impactful works in this exhibit. There’s much that I continue to process on emotional and psychological planes. These artists’ timely visions, articulated with compelling skill, have left me alternately humbled, dismayed, exhilarated, alarmed, thrilled, mesmerized. And forever…grateful.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Bounteous Bowie

 

Bounteous Bowie

By Tom Wachunas

 

“…I watch the ripples change their size

But never leave the stream

Of warm impermanence

And so the days float through my eyes

But still the days seem the same

And these children that you spit on

As they try to change their worlds 

Are immune to your consultations

They're quite aware of what they're goin' through…”  - some lyrics from the song “Changes” by David Bowie


Turn and Face the Strange, paper mosaic by Tim Carmany

Eyes of Blue, oil,  by Todd Bergert

Ziggy Stardust, oil and pyrograph, by Erin Mulligan

Electric Bowie, polymer, epoxy resin, by Erika Katherine

Teeth of Grass, acrylic on wood, by Alex Strader

TMWFTE - 76, by Billy Ludwig

Smoke and Mirrors, acrylic, by Dan Kane

I'm Not Going to Talk About Judy, acrylic on wood, by Scot Phillips

The Life and Times of David Robert Jones, Hoard Couture jacket, by Judi Krew

 

Exhibit: Turn and Face the Strange – A Visual Celebration of David Bowie / at The Hub Art Factory / 336 6th St NW, downtown Canton, Ohio / curated by Dan Kane /

https://www.facebook.com/TheHubArtFactory/

Exhibiting artists: Steve Ehret, Kat Francis, Erin Mulligan, Tim Carmany, Heather Bullach, Marti Jones Dixon, David Sherrill, Judi Krew, Billy Ludwig, Tim Eakin, Erika Katherine, Jessica Bennett, Todd Bergert, Jake Mensinger, Rochelle Edwards Haas, Holly Buffy Atkinson, Scot Phillips, Alex Minturn, Alex Strader, Cody J. Martin, Dan Kane

 

    I offer my sincerest THANKS to Dan Kane for his passion and dedication in selecting the 21 area artists for this superb exhibit; to The Hub Art Factory for presenting it; and of course to the participating artists themselves. Collectively, they have succeeded in providing an adventurous remembrance of a profoundly important, complex and influential artist – David Bowie (b. Jan 8,1947 – d. Jan. 10, 2016).

   For those of you who missed the exciting opening on Friday night, April 3, there’ s another opportunity to see the show on Tuesday evening (April 6) from 7p.m. to 9p.m. (face coverings required). Or you can inquire about arranging another time to view the exhibit by e-mailing the gallery: thehubcanton@gmail.com

   Through a marvelous diversity of media, the artists in this show  transported me in an uncanny way, letting me feel again the electrifying pulse of Bowie’s artistry that shaped an era.

   Additionally, I leave you with the powerful words of New York Times music critic, Jon Pareles, excerpted here from his memorial article published the day after Bowie’s death. What an articulate assessment of a musical force!!!

“David Bowie, the infinitely changeable, fiercely forward-looking songwriter who taught generations of musicians about the power of drama, images and personas…”

“…Mr. Bowie wrote songs, above all, about being an outsider: an alien, a misfit, a sexual adventurer, a faraway astronaut. His music was always a mutable blend — rock, cabaret, jazz and what he called “plastic soul” — but it was suffused with genuine soul...”

“…Angst and apocalypse, media and paranoia, distance and yearning were among Mr. Bowie’s lifelong themes. So was a penchant for transgression coupled with a determination to push cult tastes toward the mainstream…”

“…Mr. Bowie was his generation’s standard-bearer for rock as theater: something constructed and inflated yet sincere in its artifice, saying more than naturalism could. With a voice that dipped down to baritone and leapt into falsetto, he was complexly androgynous, an explorer of human impulses that could not be quantified.”

   Here’s a link to the entire article:

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/12/arts/music/david-bowie-dies-at-69.html