Commentaries and critiques on the visual and performing arts in the greater Canton, Ohio area
Monday, October 31, 2011
By Tom Wachunas
The William G. Fry Theatre is a classic ‘black box’ venue that’s a great fit for the Canton Players Guild “Stripped Away” series. Without the elaborate sets and other trappings of full-out mainstage productions, the series is designed to bring an edgy immediacy to the theatrical proceedings. In such a tightly confined environment, if the stage literature is sufficiently compelling, if the directing is sensitive and purposeful, and if the performers are skilled enough to convincingly sustain their characters under very close audience scrutiny, the results are intensely riveting.
And so it is that these elements have certainly been blended to powerful effect in the current production of “A Few Good Men,” directed here by Jeremy P. Lewis. Aaron Sorkin wrote this story of two Marines – Lance Corporal Harold Dawson and PFC Louden Downey - accused of murdering a fellow soldier, PFC William Santiago, in a “Code Red” hazing gone wrong at Guantanamo Bay, and their JAG defense lawyers who uncover a conspiracy to cover up high-level complicity. The play was produced on Broadway in 1989 and then as a film directed by Rob Reiner in 1992, starring Tom Cruise and Demi Moore as attorneys Daniel Kaffee and Joanne Galloway, and Jack Nicholson as the Guantanomo base commander, Nathan Jessep.
The action flips back and forth across time in both Washington, D.C., and the Guantanamo base, with many scene changes (a matter of quick rearrangements of a few furniture pieces) dispatched by the cast members with appropriately military precision, even if the long first act does seem to, at times, crawl instead of march. For the most part, the cast appears as very well-directed and credible (right down to their buzz-cuts) in martial authenticity – no doubt aided by three of the performers who had considerable real life experience in U.S. military service.
Stand-out performances include: Ryan Skibicki playing the accused Harold Dawson - the idealistic, stalwart Marines’s Marine; Shane Daniels playing fellow prisoner Louden Downey – shaken, needy, and with the demeanor of a deer in the headlights; John Scavelli as the wry-witted Sam Weinberg, best friend and second chair to defense counsel Kaffee, sincerely struggling to buy into defending what he considers to be a cut-and-dry case of murder. And John Green is scarily artful in his portrayal of Lt. Jonathan Kendrick, marching to his own Bible-thumping beat as he and his underlings robotically bark the Marine Code, “Unit, Corps, God, Country!”
As is often the case with plays made into popular films, iconic screen performances can prejudice our expectations of the stage experience. But here you can forget about such measuring sticks as Tom Cruise’s suave bravado, Demi Moore’s unflappable dignity and fortitude, or Jack Nicholson’s fanatical, square-jawed, vein-popping courtroom crash-and-burn as he bellows, “You can’t handle the truth!”
This cast delivers all that plus some, with dramatic elan all their own. Ryan Nehlen turns in a deeply energetic and nuanced portrait of the callow defense lawyer Daniel Kaffee, hiding deep insecurities with cocky humor that ultimately matures into a convicted conscience. Equally intriguing is Maria Work as co-counsel Joanne Galloway – impassioned, quietly vulnerable, and endearingly stubborn. And Fred Weibel captures the pathological malevolence and megalomania of Nathan Jessep – a frightening embodiment of the chasm between autonomous military bureaucracy and societal morality - with gripping panache.
Take no prisoners indeed. Handle the truth? This is theatre that demands - and gets – our undivided attention.
Canton Players Guild production of “A Few Good Men” runs through November 13. Performances are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday in the William G. Fry Theatre, located in the Cultural Center for the Arts, 1001 Market Avenue N., in Canton . Box office (330) 453 – 7617, www.playersguildtheatre.com
PHOTO by James Dreussi: Left to Right – Bill Finley (background) as Judge Julius Alexander Rudolf, Fred Weibel as Nathan Jessep, Ryan Nehlen as Daniel Kaffee, John Scavelli as Sam Weinberg
Posted by Tom Wachunas at 8:44 AM No comments:
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
When Art Gets In Your Eyes
When Art Gets In Your Eyes
By Tom Wachunas
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time. - Ecclesiastes 1: 9-10 –
“Originality is nothing but judicious imitation.” - Voltaire –
“Good artists borrow. Great artists steal.” - Pablo Picasso -
Regarding the latest installment of the annual Stark County Artists Exhibition at the Massillon Museum, I’m almost convinced that the jurors of competitive shows (in this region anyway) are required to always select a few works that intentionally strain credibility – theirs and ours. This year’s What Were They Thinking Award goes to Laurie Baker for her two paper mache sculptures: “Scary Winter Snowman” and “Full- Size Sitting Tiger”. These are simplistic, somewhat garish tchotchkes, though certainly very impressive in scale and craftsmanship. Part of the problem might be with the Museum’s practice in the last few years of jurying digital-only entries. Maybe the pieces are somehow more appealing encoded on a shiny disc and illuminated on a computer screen. Like Forest Gump’s box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get until you free it from its wrapper. As seen here, they’re cute and “entertaining”, but only to the extent that circus kitsch is best presented on parade floats.
A few other pieces bring up interesting questions about “originality” and appropriation of imagery not one’s own. Billy Ludwig’s “Bird Shark” is a digital image that won Second Place honors here. Imagine my surprise when fellow blogger Judi Krew informed me that her internet-savvy son noticed how Ludwig’s delightfully bizarre frankenform of a seagull and Great White was eerily similar to several images found under “bird shark” on Google Images. In fact, but for the photo-shopped background and webbed feet in Ludwig’s picture, the critters are virtually identical. IF it was someone or some entity other than Ludwig (or his personal Impale Design brand) that originally created the Google images, shouldn’t they be credited? Ludwig and many other digital artists make no secret of incorporating “found” imagery for works that bear their names. So are we OK with assuming that anything and everything on the internet, with little or no alteration, is fair game for inclusion in art, or legitimately in the public domain enough to be fodder for the contemporary art trough? How thin is the line between homage and forgery? Between an original and a counterfeit?
Related questions are posed by James Begert’s oil painting here called “War”. His piece is an instantly recognizable appropriation of an Andy Warhol Campbell’s Soup can from 1962, and truly needs no introduction or credit, being the emblematic icon of an entire art movement. Begert’s borrowing, though, is a much clearer recontextualizing of his “found” source than that of some digital artists. Eschewing Warhol’s cool industrial surfaces, Begert’s more impromptu, painterly treatment is an effectively crude awakening to 21st century marketing and consumerism of war.
But enough with the thorny stuff. As a whole, this year’s showcase of 62 works by 41 artists is notably more balanced than in years past - in variety of mediums (including more 3-D works), engaging thematic content, and depth of technical mastery. It’s gratifying, too, to see that the echoes of the Old Masters can still hold us in their thrall. Frank Dale’s stunning “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” garnered Best In Show honors. His unquestionable mastery of the Flemish method of oil painting is in full force with this shadowy portrait of his late wife and muse. A ghostly wisp of cigarette smoke rises up her cheek and lingers over her left eye like a haunting scar. One of Dale’s accomplished students of the technique, Kristin Lupsor, received an Honorable Mention for her sumptuous, riveting portrait, “Flora”.
There’s a captivating sensuality about the two excellent still lifes by Karen Hemsley. The picture planes are intricately engineered with contrasting patterns and diagonals, unusual perspectives, and a rich palette. Deliciously mesmerizing. So too the acrylic collage by Isabel Zaldivar called “Landscape in Black and White”. It’s a fascinating abstract exploration of lavish textures and organic forms laid out with an almost photographic clarity, suggesting a churning natural environment. A similar textural intrigue abounds in the exquisite color photograph of the gnarled base of a tree, “Sleepy Old Ent”, by Scott Alan Evans.
Here’s a short list of other entries that I found particularly remarkable: the vibrant pastel pieces by Diane Belfiglio, Judy Huber, Judi Krew, and Brian Robinson ( Juror’s Honorable Mention); the wondrously tactile fiber portrait by Marge May; the equally wondrous stoneware pieces by Laura Donnelly (Third Place for “Dish Rags”); and the elegant wood vessels by Marty Chapman.
And for the sheer power of art’s capacity to “speak” with electrifying authority, there are the two acrylic paintings by Sherri Hornbrook: “Lux” and “Visor”. My dilemma is that I’m at a loss to explain exactly what’s being said. Stumped. Flummoxed. Yet absolutely sure I’m seeing something really fresh. Yes, there are apparent derivations in these abstracts – a melding of Fauvist color with the loose expressivity and design sensibilities of such painters as Picasso, Kandinsky, Matisse, to name just some. But Hornbrook offers a compelling synthesis all her own – private, enigmatic, intensely intuitive. PRIMAL. They pose questions. I want to see them bigger. Maybe next time around. Meanwhile they linger, sweet and loud. Art will do that sometimes.
Photo: “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes”, oil by Frank Dale, on view at the Massillon Museum THROUGH DECEMBER 31. 121 Lincoln Way E., downtown Massillon. (330) 833 – 4061 www.massillonmuseum.org
Posted by Tom Wachunas at 7:52 AM 5 comments:
Saturday, October 22, 2011
By Tom Wachunas
The current exhibit at Anderson Creative is an intriguing exercise in human connectivity that I think is one of the most deeply thought provoking projects to come our way since the gallery’s inception. Called “Blind / Sighted: The Perceptions Project,” the installation presents an unfolded process involving nine local residents - of varying ages, backgrounds, and walks in life – who answered probing questions in an hour-long interview, conducted by Anderson Creative curator Craig Joseph, about how they perceive themselves and how they think others perceive them. Then transcripts of the recorded interviews were turned over to two artists: painter Marti Jones Dixon and filmmaker Andrew Rudd. Based solely on those audio recordings, Dixon was assigned the task of painting a portrait of each individual, while Rudd set about storyboarding nine brief films (“microdocumentaries”) about their lives.
Rudd had the advantage of meeting each of his subjects face-to-face for a short time in the process of finishing his project, and we’re told in the accompanying background statements for the show that those meetings generated changes in his original storyboarded perceptions. I take it to mean that, based on his interpretation of the audio interviews, Rudd at first envisioned particular ways to present a comprehensive ‘picture’ of his subjects. Then he must have realized he needed to re-think his perceptions after getting to know them a little better. In his attempt to portray the essence of a person – to present who he thought these people are - he likely grappled with freeing his art enough to be a faithful descriptor of transient realities rather than just a pre-scripter of static ideas, or merely coloring in the lines, so to speak, provided by the initial interview questions (which are posted on one of the gallery walls), and the interviewees’ answers.
In any event, his finished films are lively and sensitive in their construction. Each is a uniquely engaging tableau of a life, giving us intimate views of these erstwhile strangers. We learn, among other things, something of their memories, families, values and passions as well as their physical appearance – something Dixon could not access in her decisions as to how to paint portraits of them.
The challenge forced her to relate to and render her subjects in a totally unfamiliar way. As an accomplished portraitist accustomed to working from visual cues in real time, Dixon’s paintings have always effectively captured her subjects’ subtlest nuances of countenance and postures with truly energetic, facile brushwork. But for these paintings, she needed to engage a new methodology by literally hearing her way into seeing – to intuit a sense of a whole person emerging from a “framed” narrative. While the paintings don’t reveal physical faces as such, they are nonetheless imbued with an almost mystical, beatific look that reads, when viewed in tandem with the subjects’ respective films, as somehow apropos. Most of her pictures suggest illuminated discoveries of present essences, or perhaps truths retrieved from deep contemplation, revealed in ethereal, sometimes haunting light. Many take the form of interior scenes that in turn frame an exterior scene. Savory, private moments in an outward-bound journey. In their expressive technique, and in their poetic content, these works may well be the most compellingly dramatic Dixon has ever made.
What I find most engaging about this show is the relationship between what is overtly declared about the nine “strangers” - Scott, Blu, Hugo, Kristin, Moe, Henry, Lindsey, Marian, and Aunt Bea (as I’m left with a warming desire to know them better still) - and what it tells me about the artists. As viewers, we necessarily become vicarious participants in their process, but only to the extent to which we invest our time to sincerely explore our own perceptions. More important, in as much as the show is a presentation of individual portraits and biographies, it is collectively a laudable, courageous, and affirming picture of humans authentically willing to do what is too often dreadfully absent from this world: connect with each other.
Photo, courtesy Marti Jones Dixon and Anderson Creative: “Hugo”, oil on canvas, on view THROUGH OCTOBER 29 at Anderson Creative, 331 Cleveland Avenue NW, downtown Canton. Gallery hours are Noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.
Posted by Tom Wachunas at 6:39 AM No comments:
Friday, October 14, 2011
Where Sparrows Breathe Fire
Where Sparrows Breathe Fire
By Tom Wachunas
Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said: “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
-from “Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There” by Lewis Caroll -
Welcome to where honey grows on trees, ravens drive trucks, owls turn mice into living marionettes, cats have wings and webbed feet, and catfish parachute into fiery battle. Not to mention where beetles have bulldozer snouts and long-necked, three-horned elephants play croquet, among many other surreal permutations of the known universe. Welcome to Erin through the picture plane, aka “The Life of a Dream,” an exhibit of paintings by Erin Mulligan currently at The Little Art Gallery in North Canton.
Beyond what I’ve already offered here on several occasions in the last few years, there isn’t much in the way of new observations or insights I can offer about Mulligan’s work. This isn’t to say she’s been making the same painting over and over again – a practice not uncommon among some painters who settle for years on end into a comfortable stylistic niche. Yes, she continues to produce utterly intriguing and meticulous visions of an improbable – OK, impossible - world that is alternately bizarre and whimsical, yet without being too dark or repulsive. But Mulligan’s looking glass is a window on a world that’s apparently boundless in its enthralling variety of content. These are fantastic visions in every sense of the word – phantasms of places and creatures that at times seem to be allegories of “real world” situations.
Even aside from the symbolism that may or may not be present, they’re compelling for their unfettered surrender to an astonishingly fertile imagination, as well as their equally astonishing technique. Merging the detailed draftsmanship of the most accomplished nature illustrators with the classic glazing methods of the Old Masters, Mulligan is both a first-rate painter and a master illusionist in her own right. Combined with the playful taxonomic nomenclature of her titles – like “Flatus Swimmey Linearani,” “Insectus Scoopus Mammalus,” and “Flightus Amphibious Delicious” – these works are delightfully credible and entertaining documents of life lived...somewhere else.
So go ahead, have breakfast with the Queen. I bet you’ll believe a lot more than just six impossible things before you’re finished.
Photo, courtesy The Little Art Gallery: “Cosmos Umbilicus,” oil on board by Erin Mulligan, on view through November 6 at The Little Art Gallery, located in the North Canton Public Library. Also on view, original vintage jewelry designs by Kathleen Houston. firstname.lastname@example.org
(330) 499 – 4712, Ext. 312
Posted by Tom Wachunas at 7:42 AM 1 comment:
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Liszt Ablaze, Stravinsky Explosive
Liszt Ablaze, Stravinsky Explosive
By Tom Wachunas
For sheer depth of instrumental virtuosity and soaring emotional impact, the inaugural performance of the 2011-2012 season by the Canton Symphony Orchestra (CSO) on October 9 was more than merely satisfying. This concert was an aural phenomenon of astonishingly lavish dimensions.
Maestro Gerhardt Zimmerman introduced to the audience American composer Margaret Brouwer, whose 1996 tone poem, Remembrances, began the program. She explained that the work was written after the death of Robert Stewart, a beloved friend who was himself a composer as well as a sailor. After the inspired performance, Zimmerman welcomed Brouwer back to the stage, and she was clearly pleased – with good reason - at what had just transpired.
Here was the CSO at its most evocative, deftly sailing, so to speak, through the score’s many sparkling textures and variable moods that powerfully conjured images of windswept seas, alternately soothing and achingly mournful. Most remarkable was the commanding finesse with which the orchestra navigated the score’s dramatically evolving and contrasting sound dynamics – from the very loud and solemn, and to the ultimately shimmering whispers of hope and affirmation. Throughout, particularly in haunting passages that suggested the rumble of looming storms, the brass section was sharp and utterly riveting.
What followed was surely among the most searing performances by a guest soloist in recent memory. Pianist Martina Filjak delivered a blazingly hot performance of Liszt’s Piano Concerto No.1, startling for both its vigorous lyrical thunder as well as its silky poeticism. In his program notes for the concerto, Kenneth C. Viant cited Austrian critic Moritz Saphir’s description of Liszt treating the piano as a mistress. Just so, on this occasion Filjak was the personification of Liszt’s impassioned relationship with the instrument, playing as if at once attacking and apologizing to a lover. Call it a tender savagery. But even in passages of the most furious and sturdy muscularity, she never succumbed to gratuitous bombast. Rather, her astounding virtuosity was purposeful, and always in seamless, balanced dialogue with the sonorous orchestra. Particularly magical – even wicked - were her sustained right hand trills that transformed the piano’s sound into otherworldly, harp-like resonances. When the bedazzled capacity audience lavished her with their loving ovations, she graciously responded with an equally magical encore of Schumann’s Intermezzo from Vienna Carnival.
The overarching theme of the evening was a celebration of Liszt’s 200th birthday, and so a second work by the composer – Symphonic Poem No.7 (Festklange) - filled in the program further. While the march-like, glimmering energy of Festklange (‘Festival Sounds’) might lack the heroism or gravitas of some of Liszt’s other symphonic poems (a genre he invented), it was nonetheless delivered here with towering, palpable exuberance. Once again, the brass section was exceptionally bright and crisp, along with notable solos from cello, bassoon, and violin. In all, the work set the tone for a concert finale as explosive as I’ve ever heard at Umstattd Hall.
The music for the The Firebird ballet electrified audiences when it premiered at the Paris Opera in 1910, and effectively thrust Stravinsky into worldwide celebrity practically overnight. The 1919 suite arrangement stands in many ways as Stravinsky’s recapitulation – summation, to be sure – of 19th century Russian orchestral opulence. It is unarguably a masterpiece of technical flamboyance and wildly varied, mesmerizing instrumental textures. Through all of the CSO’s thrilling mastery of this familiar gem, there was of course the anticipation of its stirring, iconic finale. Yet here the orchestra far exceeded such familiarity and somehow transcended the whole idea of exhilarating, victorious climax. This was a jaw-dropping, exuberant eruption of the first order. And more than just a joyous end to a singularly excellent evening, it heralded in glorious fashion the robust season to come.
Photo: Pianist Martina Filjak
Posted by Tom Wachunas at 5:26 AM No comments:
Saturday, October 8, 2011
By Tom Wachunas
Aegolius had worked himself into one of his famously flustered states. This was always the case whenever he visited an exhibit of what he called ‘postwhatsit’ art. “Well, I’ve never seen anything quite this,” he blurted, as usual, “…and, well, I mean anything I could call…” His whiny voice trailed off into indecipherable muttering.
Nyctea stroked his shoulder gently and, as usual, cooed, “Relax. It’ll come to you.”
After a few more minutes of nervous pacing and squinting at the strange works, a wide-eyed Aegolius finally screeched, “Metamatters and matterphors!”
And just as she had done countless times before, Nyctea nodded her agreement. “Perfect,” she said.
- From “Mournings of the Grebes” by June Godwit –
Despite his habitual worrying, Aegolius never failed to eventually unpack his trusty portmanteau. In the current postwhatsit exhibit at Main Hall Gallery on the Kent Stark campus, mixed media works by five women are gathered under the title “Pleasures of Matter.” Metamatters and matterphors indeed, the peculiar objects presented here are ‘pleasurable’ enough in their tactile intrigue, to the extent that we find pleasure in interpreting iconography that vacillates between things enigmatic, personal, and somehow familiar.
For example, the curious fabric floor constructions by Kortney Niewierski on one level conjure memories of childhood and stuffed animals. While there’s a bright, sculptural sensuality about them, their titles might refer to things less innocent if not repugnant, like accidental spillages or road kill. “I-77(North)” is a zippered fabric bag, eerily embryonic with little human fingers poking through the zipper. “I-77 (South)” is a furry deer carcass neatly sliced in two to reveal gaily patterned guts splayed on a patch of orangish “blood.”
More raw still are the pieces by Susan McClelland, who works with gut, sisal rope, and latex in producing visceral “systems” of materials that have been sewn together. Most of these works have the look of reconstituted natural detritus and otherwise organic growths, and are compelling in how they suggest processes of things damaged, then repaired and healed. The persistence of life after trauma.
A connection to nature is clearly evident, too, in the captivating small objects by Kate Budd. Her wax forms, looking like various types of pods and seeds, have been cut and buffed just so, then adorned with pins or tiny glass beads. Decorating the already decorous. Not that the wondrous shapes and textures found in nature cry out for any artificial embellishments on our part. But altering these forms in this manner becomes, on one level, a truly fascinating commentary on the human tendency to not leave well-enough alone or (best intentions notwithstanding) to augment what doesn’t need to be augmented.
The three impeccably crafted works by Isabel Farnsworth seem to be at once whimsically abstract and seriously thoughtful codes for private, emotional experiences. “The Sea Inside” sits very low on the floor - a table of sorts. The top is a resin-encased wooden cut-out of a supine figure completely covered with a blue pattern of ocean waves. Supporting this surface underneath is an arrangement of equal-sized compartments, each housing a huddled figure. Quietly somber. An elegy?
Resonating throughout many of the works in this collection is the sense that the artists have processed privately important objects or events – some pleasant and some uncomfortable - and fashioned them into deeply personal symbols. For Clare Murray Adams, those memories are rooted in domestic family life and a rural, womanly ethos. Her mastery of the encaustic medium (pigments suspended in beeswax) serves her well. Its variable transparency gives her assemblages of ghostly surface patterns along with objects on, or recessed into the picture plane - such as balls of yarn, fabric swatches, and spindles - a timeless, sometimes mysterious heirloom quality without turning them into merely saccharine mementos.
And like the other whatsits here, they’re wonderfully engaging material witnesses to intimate realities.
Photo: “I-77 (South)” by Kortney Niewierski, on view in the Main Hall Gallery at Kent State University Stark, THROUGH OCTOBER 28. Gallery hours are Mon. – Fri. 11am to 5pm / Saturday 10am to Noon.
Posted by Tom Wachunas at 5:44 AM No comments:
Monday, October 3, 2011
A Species of Writing
A Species of Writing
By Tom Wachunas
“All good and genuine draftsmen draw according to the picture inscribed in their minds, and not according to nature.” –Charles Baudelaire-
“Drawing is still basically the same as it has been since prehistoric times. It brings together man and the world. It lives through magic.” –Keith Haring-
Edgar Degas once defined drawing as “…the artist’s most direct and spontaneous expression, a species of writing.” Drawing as language? If we think of writing as a way of processing and externalizing internal ideas via mark-making, we can reasonably apply Degas’ definition in appreciating a broad spectrum of visual drawing styles. And it is indeed a broad spectrum of media and styles that we see in a delightful exhibit, called “Pencil Me In,” at The Canton Museum of Art. The show runs concurrently with “A Nation Divided,” and features 51 drawings from the museum’s permanent collection, spanning the 19th to the 21st century.
Just as writing is a manipulation, or configuration of symbols that collectively express either abstractions (thoughts, ideas, feelings) or concrete representations of physical realities, so also two-dimensional drawing. Good drawing is certainly not limited to reproducing super-realistic, faithful-to-nature replicas of a subject.
But when an artist does accomplish masterfully complete illusions of reality, the effect is invariably wowing, and there are some stunning examples of that here. Among those are three elegant nude studies – masterpieces of soft precision in pencil – by John Hemming Fry, and the spectacular, lavish colored pencil and acrylic “Still Life with Silver Bowl and White Cup” by Jeanette Pasin Sloan. And then there's Lowell Tolstedt's astounding tromp l'oeil colored pencil "Great American Still Life..." An artichoke, green apple, and apricot sit atop a square of crinkled foil, and their reflected colors make for a shimmering gem of pure abstraction.
Of course the discipline of drawing can be a prelude to a project in another medium. No doubt the French Realist Jean Millet practiced the lofty tradition of making many charcoal sketches in preparation for his iconic paintings of the rural working class. There are three here – two loose and fluid studies of field workers, and the more charmingly refined, pastoral “Shepherdesses.” And for all of the sketchy airiness in Charles Burchfield’s “Cicada Spirit,” executed with child-like simplicity, the small drawing exudes a largely magical, meditative energy. Similarly, there’s an eerie magic and spontaneity at work in Will Barnet’s dramatic charcoal “Emily Dickenson.” The stark figure of a woman standing on a low, barren knoll, her back to us, is made all the more haunting and lonely by a massive sky filled not with clouds, but swarming blackbirds. Like many of the drawings in this show, it may or may not have been a preparatory study for a painting, yet it is a complete – and compelling – entity unto itself.
Speaking of compelling entities, perhaps the most remarkable offering here is “Impressions: Europe #26,” a conte crayon and ink work by George Kozmon, Jr. This architectural rendering is a powerful orchestration of tonalities both deeply saturated and subtly variegated, along with intricate, rhythmic linear design and rich textures. The drawing transforms a classically- styled building - presented from a refreshingly inventive perspective - into a fascinating homage to abstract pictorial structure.
And like all great drawings of things seen in “reality,” it rewrites the familiar into something very new and surprising.
Photo, courtesy cantonart.org, “Impressions: Europe #26,” conte crayon and ink on paper, by George Kozmon, Jr., on view through October 30 at the Canton Museum of Art, 1001 Market Ave. N., Canton. (330) 453 – 7666.
Posted by Tom Wachunas at 7:29 AM No comments:
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