Thursday, August 11, 2022

Meet the Metamorphs

 

Meet the Metamorphs 







                                                                         By Tom Wachunas

 

   “…Strange fascination, fascinating me…Ah, changes are taking the pace I’m going through…Time may change me, But I can’t trace time…  - lyrics from “Changes” by David Bowie, 1971

Metamorphosis: a change of physical form, structure, or substance especially by supernatural means / a striking alteration in appearance, character, or circumstances  - Merriam-Webster

 

   EXHIBIT: Dust to Diamonds, new works by Erika Katherine, at Patina Arts Centre, 324 Cleveland Avenue N.W., in downtown Canton / Viewing hours are Thursdays Noon to 8 p.m. and Saturdays Noon to 9 p.m. / Through August 20, 2022

   First, here are some sentences I excerpted from Erika Katherin’e artist statement for this exhibit:

  Erika Katherine's newest collection of work explores the idea of time as pressure. Through intentionality, time itself feeds us, grows us, and makes us the creative beings we are. Diamonds are formed under pressure,… From nothingness, a beautiful stone is formed… Inspired by her love for fantasy, dark art, and surrealism, Erika has created a whimsical aesthetic…featuring the cute, the creepy, and the strange… character sculptures and surreal worlds from found objects that were once considered trash, polymer/paper clays, and epoxy resin….Dust to Diamonds… features work that has been molded by time. Scavenging through her studio at The HUB, collecting pieces and parts, trinkets, found objects, and adding in a combination of resin and polymer clays. Erika Katherine works to transform it all into something new and beautiful…Created from nothingness… and an abundance of magic, this exhibition aims to incite wonder.”

   Wonder indeed. As in, I wondered a lot about what her exquisitely crafted objects – particularly the smallish “character” sculptures - might signify exactly. Interestingly enough, there are no titles posted with the pieces, which can be useful (though not always, to be sure) in deciphering meaning.  Then again, being left to our own devices in that regard needn’t be a bad thing. In fact it can, for those willing to take time to look intentionally, actually incite a collaboration, a completion. The artist makes an object out of found, repurposed stuff, and the viewer makes something of the found art, so to speak. A partnership.

   Erika Katherine’s art – and for that matter, anything we call art -  isn’t really born from absolute nothingness. Art is always a… somethingness, taken from a somewhereness which the artist transubstantiates into a… something-elseness. In that sense, artists don’t “create” in the grand theological sense of the word so much as they impose metamorphoses. 

   What, then, are we looking at here? Pearly-sheened oddments. Glossy states of mind, at once whimsical, mystical and macabre.  Effigies, totems, incarnations, avatars. These curios from elsewhere all pop with luxuriant ornamental details and luscious color.

   There might be a saga here, a bizarre fairy tale. Something like this, perhaps: Once upon a sometime, blindfolded Princess Antenna came out of the mouth of Kingskull Gold Eyes to find her wandering misfit friends so they could help save her beloved horned pet, Watchyacallit, from being crushed by the evil Insomnia Tower harnessed to the poor thing’s back. Or not.

   OK so that may not be your take-away. In any case, see for yourself. Make time to put some pressure on your imagination. And while you’re at it, name those metamorphs. Save Watchyacallit!

Monday, August 8, 2022

Continuing Combobulations

 

Continuing Combobulations 



Gollom

Mothra Getting Distracted

Ghost with Brains

Shivery

Cop with Birds

By Tom Wachunas

 

   “…I got some groceries, some peanut butter, to last a couple of days…”  - from “Life During Wartime” - song by Talking Heads, 1979

EXHIBIT: DaveRuinsArt - David Sherrill’s art, at The Hub Art Factory, 336 6th Street N.W, in downtown Canton.

NOTE: One remaining time to view the exhibition - the closing party on FRIDAY, AUGUST 19, 6 to 9p.m.

   In many ways this exhibit could rightly be considered a busy extension of David Sherrill’s first solo show mounted at Silo Arts gallery roughly six months ago. What I wrote about that exhibit is still very much applicable to this latest installation at The Hub Art Factory, so I offer this link to my first review if you care to click and (re)read:

  http://artwach.blogspot.com/2022/02/a-ramble-through-rabbit-hole.html

     Is the epigram “DaveRuinsArt” a statement about existential irony? A logo for streetsmart sarcasm? Or just a smartass motto?  

   What are we looking at? Psychopunk? HyperPop Expressionism? David Sherrill cooks up up a bubbling hot casserole of images and ideas, generously spiced with edgy humor and a teaspoon or two of horror.      

    Are we to read Sherrill’s ruining of art as nothing more than a disarming bit of self-deprecation? If so, he’s a shade too modest. After all, the man is a facile enough painter. Beyond his wild white-lined abstractions, look at the finesse with which he places his acrylic movie-world monsters atop those found, “thrifted” scenes. Better yet, notice how he has recently revived the ancient art of black velvet painting with haunting portraits seemingly aglow in the dust of colored light. One of those is the jarring likeness of Gollum, that slithery mutant from The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings sagas. So arresting, I could practically hear his throaty, dark gurgle of a voice complimenting the other velvet renderings nearby, “Precious!”  

   So maybe in the end, DaveRuinsArt is a tongue-in-cheek marketing strategy to bait the insatiably inquisitive and the wild-at-heart among us. For here’s an invitation to walk that evermore wobbly tightrope of life between mirth and mayhem, fun and fury. You needn’t worry about falling off. The balloons on the gallery floor will cushion your crash.

Friday, July 29, 2022

Rest in Piece

 

 

Rest in Piece 






By Tom Wachunas 

“…We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord...”

-2 Corinthians 5: 7-8


   Here’s a quick story about my newest artwork. More accurately, an old work made new. A resurrection, really.

   The original was made at least several years ago – one of my paint-stiffened found clothing concoctions – intended to be about salvation, or redemption, or forgiveness. Maybe all three. I can’t even remember the original title, only that I was never satisfied with the thing, and considered it unresolved. A failure, in fact, or, if you will, a sin. There, I’ve confessed.

    But lately it’s been calling to be corrected, to be made worthy of forgiveness and offered up for re-consideration. So the born-again title is (in Latin) “Requiescat in Pace (Rest in Peace).”

   For several days I kept looking at the old painting propped up in my studio, once every few hours or so, brooding and wondering and pacing around the thing, knowing it wanted, it required, it demanded, then commanded action on my part.

   Then a strange thing happened. A memory. A stern-faced Dominican nun was wagging a finger in the faces of her second-grade students. Her lips curled into a half-smile, half- snarl, one eyebrow arched heavenward. Her raspy voice was urgent. She blurted, “Every time you sin, you put Jesus right back up on that cross and he bleeds all over again!”

   Well, Sister, there’s another fine mess you’d gotten me into. I don’t remember how many childhood years passed with her words still branded and smoldering on the fleshy tablet of my heart. My brain was bloated with gruesome pictures of Jesus, afloat somewhere in the meta-whatever, screaming in pain, writhing in his own blood every time I told a lie or said a bad word, disobeyed my parents or made fun of a classmate, called my younger sister stupid or a neighbor kid ugly, pilfered a Milkyway (or was it Nestle’s Crunch?) from the neighborhood grocer, or, horror of horrors, had an “impure thought.” ENOUGH!

    Back to my painting. Time to act. So, just a few days ago, I washed my hands in holy water, so to speak - goopy globs of wet acrylic color. I pressed my paint-slathered hands down, hard into three places on the stiff, wrinkly ridges of the artwork. An anointing.  ImPRESSionism indeed. I found my piece. And my peace. It is finished.

Monday, July 11, 2022

For the Record

 

FOR THE RECORD 





 

'Signs and wonderings' exhibit explores Canton artist's faith

By Charita M. Goshay

Published in Canton’s daily newspaper, The Repository, July 10, 2022

 

CANTON –Tom Wachunas' life as a successful abstract artist could be likened to the story of the prodigal son in the Book of Luke, in which a wayward son goes his own way, only to realize that what he was seeking was the very thing he left behind.

His newest show, "Signs and Wonderings – A Disciple's Journey," can be seen now through July 24 at the Patina Arts Centre at 324 Cleveland Ave. NW.

Wachunas – who uses everything from paint to graphite to fabric – describes his pieces as  "mixed-media-assemblages."

In a blog post, Wachunas described his work as, "A continuing realization and loving embrace of biblical and Christocentric content."

"Other times, I've called them 3-D paintings," he said. "In the last several years, I've incorporated a lot of fabric to bring depth and dimension."

A native of Alliance, Wachunas was raised a devout Catholic. He said he's also been serious and passionate about art since he was a 10-year-old boy.

Tom Wachunas' art in his newest exhibit, "Signs and Wonderings" makes use of such ancient biblical symbols as the lamb and the golden calf, and such modern items such as technology.

"I was in the first first-grade class at Regina Coeli School, and I was in one of the earliest classes at St. Thomas Aquinas (High School)," he said.

The priesthood, or art?

Wachunas was so devoted to his faith that he seriously considered the priesthood. After two years at St. Thomas Aquinas, he completed high school at St. Gregory's, a seminary high school in Cincinnati, but decided against entering the seminary.

"I was always passionate about art," he said. "I could no longer see myself in that life as a priest. By any standard, I would be considered a fallen-away Catholic."

Wachunas graduated from Ohio State in 1973 with a bachelor's degree in fine arts, followed by master's in expanded arts in 1975.

"In grad school, I got connected with a community of what was known then as born-again Christians." he said. "My sense of God and my Christian faith was set fire again. Then, as life would have it, I kind of drifted."

Wachunas said he then followed a flock of friends, "long-haired, hippie types who were into art," to Miami. But in 1977, he heeded the call from other artist friends living in New York City, where he worked and lived as an artist for 14 years before returning to Ohio in 1991.

"My faith got rekindled in a really intense way when I came back to Ohio," he said.

 'He's still calling me'

Wachunas admits that his faith went dormant while living in New York.

"I didn't go to church but I do remember praying," he said. "I was frankly more intent on being acknowledged in the art world rather than the Christian world. I was living a lifestyle that was anything but Christian. But my sense of Christ and Christianity never outright died. It was always there. He never let me go. I had seasons of sensing 'He's still calling me.'"

Noting that his first wife was Jewish, Wachunas said they often had profound discussions about faith.

"It would spark my memory," he said. "I think it was God's way of keeping me in reach."

Wachunas said it's not his intention to club people over the head.

"I don't intend these pieces to preach or teach outright," he said. "My hope is that they plant questions, and keep people arrested enough to at least look."

Wachunas and his second wife have been members of RiverTree Christian Church in Jackson Township for more than 20 years.

"I think Christianity is mislabled, misunderstood, unappreciated and under-celebrated," he said. "People have confused messages about what it means ... I think Christians are increasingly lumped together as the enemies of peace and love, which is what all of us seek."

Gallery volunteer Kim Kinghoff is a fan.

"I love the uniqueness and the stories," she said. "One of my favorite pieces is the golden calf."

Wachunas admits having concerns about his Christocentric works being understood but says he needs to be true to himself.

"I needed to be honest," he said. "God gave me the courage to stand up. If people walk away with more questions about God and Jesus, that for me is significant."

Gallery hours are noon to 8 p.m. Thursdays, noon to 9 p.m. Saturdays, and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays.

The gallery also is open from 5 to 9 p.m. on First Fridays. New gallery openings are every last Friday of the month from 5 to 9 p.m.

Reach Charita at 330-580-8313 or

charita.goshay@cantonrep.com  On Twitter: @cgoshayREP.

Friday, July 8, 2022

INTUITIONS

 

 Intuitions 


Homage Morandi

Not for the Faint of Heart

Rear Window

Juicy Fruits

Alphabet Soup

Naughty But Nice

“…Also inherent in this soup of paint, collage and accidents, is the subconscious mind lending to my creations the unknown factor. Tapping into the ‘’subconscious’’ (which using my untrained hand facilitates) allows me to make work that relies on intuition, a mixture of art-historical and non-art resources in order to create funny, sometimes irreverent yet moving imagery. “

-      Patricia Zinsmeister Parker

   EXHIBIT: Patricia Zinsmeister Parker paintings, THROUGH JULY 29 at John Strauss Studios, upstairs gallery / 236 Walnut Avenue NE, in downtown Canton / Viewing hours: Mondays – Fridays 10am to 5pm, Saturdays 10am to 4pm

https://john-strauss-furniture.myshopify.com/collections/patricia-zinsmeister-parker

   Look long enough at a painting by Patricia Zinsmeister Parker and you might hear her right hand hand clapping while her left hand laughs. One complements and compliments the other.

   As a static object, a Parker painting represents a specific event in time, a decision: the point at which she stopped painting the picture. An arrival. Prior to that arrival, however, there is always a story, or history of stories. There be ghosts in a Parker painting. Some shout. Some whisper. Remnants. Echoes.

   Look long enough. Underneath what’s immediately apparent, you might find a person or a place or a thing, a riddle or a rumble, shaky shapes or loosed lines lurking inside colliding clouds of color. A brush with memory.

   Look long enough. A Parker painting is a confluence of the mundane and mysterious. A juncture where the very recent and very distant past meet to make a new present moment.

   Look long enough. A Parker painting is an activation of inexhaustible exuberance at mark-making. You might even hear the sound of scrubbing, or scribbling, or rubbing, or dribbling. The push-pull of pure possibility.

   Look long enough. A Parker painting is unencumbered by the laborious illusory minutiae of prosaic details. Here’s a larger, deeper reality: the poetry of process.

   Look longer. And listen.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Splendid Sibelius, Stratospheric Tchaikovsky

 

Splendid Sibelius, Stratospheric Tchaikovsky from Canton Symphony Orchestra 


Jinjoo Cho

Rick Robinson

Gerhardt Zimmermann

By Tom Wachunas 

   “Music begins where the possibilities of language end.” -Sibelius

    The first selection on the June 25 “Triumphant Tchaikovsky” program from the Canton Symphony Orchestra (CSO) was Jean Sibelius’ Symphony No. 3 in C Major. With this work, premiered in 1907, Sibelius offered a bold departure from the explosive emotionalism so prevalent in late-Romantic era music. This symphony was a renewed embrace of Classicism’s purity of form and melody, and one that, oddly enough, left many initial audiences of the day somewhat bewildered.

   But here, under the ever-enlivening baton of Maestro Gerhardt Zimmermann, no such disappointment ensued. Throughout the work, the lavish sonority of the CSO strings articulated a riveting vista, alternately austere, mystical and exhilarating, suffused with crip, textured harmonies and colorful contrapuntal interplays, all impeccably balanced with zesty woodwinds and sturdy exclamations from the brass.  

   Then, talk about connective programming. The next selection was Essay No.1 – After Sibelius, written in 2006 by African-American composer Rick Robinson. Inspired by the compositional style of Sibelius - particularly the theme of the first movement coda in the 3rd symphony – Robinson’s marvelously crafted homage is an episodic argument, or dialogue of sorts, between what he calls the “Aware Self” and “Shadow Self.” The work is a complex continuous narrative, dense with contrasting motifs that sweep across a vast, intricately textured soundscape of constantly shifting colors and dimensions. Every section of the ensemble had a clear and strong voice in this emotional conversation, speaking in stirring crescendos, from gentle moments of euphoric reflection, into louder strident passages. Like navigating through dark storms, the orchestra sailed to a lovely parting of the clouds with eloquent finesse.

   After intermission, the CSO transformed Tchaikovsky’s glorious Violin Concerto in D Major into an enthralling corporeal event. Internationally acclaimed violinist Jinjoo Cho has a distinctive performance style that offered more than just the flawless precision of her lightning-fast fingers, or the crystalline fecundity of tones flowing from her instrument. For as much as she illuminated this pillar of violin literature with commanding authority, dispatching her highest notes as if to pierce the stratosphere, she was in turn played by the music. When not actually playing the violin, she surrendered herself to listening to the orchestra, as someone enraptured, gracefully swaying, her face aglow in a beatific smile, sending vigorous nods of approval and encouragement aimed at her fellow artists, who responded with equal verve.

  A particularly uncanny - though in retrospect, wholly understandable - incident transpired when the sheer intensity of Cho’s electrifying cadenza leading to the conclusion of the first movement caused a serious breach of concert hall etiquette, breaking the golden rule of Thou Shalt Not Applaud Until The Last Movement Is Finished. So sayeth Silly Protocol. This moment, though, was no scattering of a few folks nervously clapping. It was a spontaneous standing ovation from many riding a big wave of boisterous praise. And even then, think of it as but a rehearsal for the instantaneous thunder of appreciation that erupted at the concerto’s utterly spectacular end. Triumphant Tchaikovsky indeed. 

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Radiant Composites

 

Radiant Composites 



People Playing Pool and Killing Time

Waiting for the King of Birds to Appear

Shanti the Loveable Leopard

Day of Rest and Relaxation

Picasso Family Reunion

Live Music and Entertainment

By Tom Wachunas

   “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” – Pablo Picasso

“…So take a walk through Scott Simler’s re-imagined worlds and see how they challenge your notions about time, space, narrative, how beauty is created, and who it’s created by. I guarantee that the journey will be a delightful one - and that you’ll be changed by your travels.”  - Craig Joseph, a curatorial mentor for this exhibit

EXHIBIT: Super Scott’s Magical Mashed Up World / art by Scott Simler, presented by Cyrus Custom Framing & Art Gallery, and Just Imagine Gift Gallery and The Workshops, Inc./ on view at Cyrus Custom Framing & Art Gallery, 2645 Cleveland Avenue NW, Canton / THROUGH JUNE 30, 2022 / gallery viewing hours Mondays-Fridays 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Saturdays 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

   Once again, my apologies for such a late posting about a remarkable exhibit that’s closing in one week as of this writing. If you’ve not seen this show yet, make time. Please.

   First, a few words about the artist from painter Vicki Boatright (a.k.a BZTAT). She works at Just Imagine Gift Gallery in downtown Canton (201 6th Street NW), where Scott Simler creates his invigorating work.

   “Inspired by Picasso, Van Gogh and Gauguin, artist Scott Simler takes his cues from the masters. He adds his own imagination and magic happens. A true visionary, Scott uses simple brush strokes to create intricately painted scenes of joy and fun. Scott has emerged as a leading artist in the Canton Arts District, working out of the Just Imagine Gift Gallery, a unique arts program offered by Twi (The Workshops, Inc.) that empowers adult artists with developmental disabilities to discover their creative side.”

    Scott Simler’s paintings aren’t mere imitations of the pioneering Modernist artists that inspire him - Picasso, Van Gogh, Gaughin, among others. He doesn’t outright copy a painting style so much as heartily embrace and converse with it. Communing with a legacy. Call it sympathetic dialogue. He remembers such conversations when he draws with paint, then re-contextualizes them into moments, scenes, indeed a world, of his own making. It’s a raw, uncomplicated world, but nonetheless electrifying –  buzzing with bright colors and lively shapes, all bouncing and dancing with palpable glee.

   You’ll find nothing sinister or threatening about Simler’s eye-popping paintings. Often droll, perhaps, but never dark. For example, of his famous The Night Café painting, Van Gogh wrote, “I have tried to express the idea that the café is a place where one can ruin oneself, go mad, or commit a crime.”  Simler, though, in his People Playing Pool and Killing Time, transformed Van Gogh’s intensely agitated room into a place of radiant optimism.    

   Need a prescription to alleviate CCS (Chronic Cynicism Syndrome)? Take a long look at two (or three or four) Simler paintings. Warning: Side-effects include sensations of unmitigated joy.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Signs and Wonderings - A Disciple's Journey

 

 

Signs and Wonderings – A Disciple’s Journey 


Mens Christi (Mind of Christ)

Sonrise

The Sower

Signs and Wonderings

Writes of Passage

By Tom Wachunas 

    …The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment: “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 3:14-16

   EXHIBIT: Signs and Wonderings – A Disciple’s Journey, art by Tom Wachunas / Through July 23 at Patina Arts Centre, 324 Cleveland Avenue NW, downtown Canton / OPENING on FRIDAY, JUNE 24, 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. / Viewing hours: Thursdays 12:00-8:00 p.m./ Saturdays 12:00 to 9:00 p.m./ Sundays 12:00-4:00 p.m. / ALSO on First Friday, JULY 1, 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m

THANK YOU, Alaska Thompson, Director of Patina Arts Centre, for your support and great work in making this exhibit happen!

https://www.facebook.com/patinaartscentre/ 

   These days, none of us needs to settle for merely imagining the ethos of human society as confused and conflicted, fraught and frustrated. With fists clenched and eyes clouded by tears, we writhe in our cultural wrecking and reckoning. This has been our earthbound reality for a very long time.

   These days, Charles Dickens’ anaphoric “it was…” in the classic opening of his A Tale of Two Cities surely lives on as a haunting, potent anthem of our NOW. It IS the best of times, it IS the worst of times, it IS the age of wisdom, it IS the age of foolishness, it IS the epoch of belief, it IS the epoch of incredulity, it IS the season of Light, it IS the season of Darkness, it IS the spring of hope, it IS the winter of despair…

   Most of my art of the past 20+ years has been in the form of painterly mixed- media assemblages - what I have often called ‘spiritual tableaux.’ They illustrate – sometimes literally, sometimes metaphorically - a continuing realization and loving embrace of Biblical and Christocentric content.

    This exhibit presents many tactile narratives, written in a language of the heart. Here is a codified archaeology of my soul as it continues to straddle or cross boundaries, at once daunting and joyous, between struggle and surrender, between the accessible and the unknowable, between the mundane and the mystical. Ultimately, these pieces symbolize aspiration, inspiration, faith, and discovery.

   And so it is that once upon a time I came to truly know that Jesus Christ was not a fiction, not a liar, not a lunatic. He was exactly who he said he was, and still is: God incarnate.

   These days, He calls, I follow. And stumble. A lot.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Facing the Music

 

Facing the Music





Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Joseph Haydn, by Errick Freeman

Robert Schumann, by Errick Freeman / Johannes Brahms, by Payton and DaQuane Finley

By Tom Wachunas

 

EXHIBIT:  Canton Symphony Orchestra (CSO) 2022 Fundraising Gala Online Auction, featuring the Composer Portrait Project - artworks by Errick Freeman, DaQuane Finley, and Payton Finley.

For some background, and a closer look at the art and artists, click on this CSO website link:

https://www.cantonsymphony.org/gallery/

 

EXCERPT: “In the summer of 2021, Rachel Hagemeier, CSO Manager of Education and Community Engagement, and Errick Freeman, visual artist, molded the idea for the Composer Portrait Project. This portrait project aims to help the patrons of Canton Symphony Orchestra visualize the people behind the music and showcase the diversity we do not realize is on stage. Before each concert, portraits of the composers featured on that concert are unveiled to the public. Errick brought together a group of local artists, Dauber Copse Fam, to create art pieces on wood, 2’x4′ in size. Each portrait is unique, different in composition, and representative of the character of the composer. By the end of the 2021-2022 season, 25 composers will fill the space of CSO’s gallery.”

 

   For the duration of the CSO 2021-22 concert season (ending on June 25 at 7:30 p.m. with the “Triumphant Tchaikovsky” program), an ongoing concert of sorts has been evolving in the gallery at Zimmermann Symphony Center. It’s a marvelous concert of portraits, or music for the eyes, if you will, performed by a trio of truly remarkable artists: Errick Freeman, DaQuane Finley, and Payton Finley.

   Together, they have constructed an intriguing montage of bold, spectacular pictorial and compositional styles. Capturing more than mere facial likenesses, their individual renderings exude an intense thoughtfulness about the very spirit of the composers and their musical visions. The collection is a wholly compelling reflection of the depth and diversity of music performed by the CSO throughout its season.

   Even though the originally scheduled annual CSO gala has been cancelled, the online auction is still LIVE! Don't miss your chance to win an incredibly unique portrait of a composer from the 21-22 season, produced in partnership with artists Errick Freeman, Payton Finley, and DaQuane Finley. Bidding ends on June 26, 2022 at 11PM.  

Click on this link to participate:

https://go.rallyup.com/csogala

Thursday, June 9, 2022

A Visceral Vitality

A Visceral Vitality

Top row (l. to r.) Fear, Opposition, Anger
Middle row: Loss (1.), Vader, Loss
Bottom row: Hate, Betrayal, Suffering

Clockwise from top left: Air, Fire, Water, Earth

Bowie

Treebeard (self portrait)


By Tom Wachunas 

  “Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter. The sitter is merely the accident, the occasion. It is not he who is revealed by the painter; it is rather the painter who, on the coloured canvas, reveals himself.” ― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

  “There comes a time when the painting is no longer about likeness, but about memory, emotion, and expression.” -Scott Alan Evans 

EXHIBIT: VISAGE – new portraits by Scott Alan Evans, at The Hub Art Factory, 336 6th Street NW, downtown Canton.  NOTE: There are two remaining dates for viewing this exhibit: Open Studio night on Tuesday, June 14, 7:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m., and Closing night, Friday June 17, starting at 5:00 p.m. 

 What do you consider to be an excellent painted portrait? What impresses you, enthralls you, pulls you in? Is it a perfectly executed physiognomy, an astonishing “likeness”? Is it the skillfully refined lineaments of mesmerizing mien or dignified deportment? Flawless tromp l’oeil technique? 

   You’ll find nothing of that ilk here. The brush that Scott Alan Evans wields isn’t a magic wand. He doesn’t conjure fool-the-eye illusions. His representational methodology isn’t one of micro-managed naturalism. It is on the other hand a substantially pared-down, albeit expressive sort of boldly colored realism. 

    Evans never lets us lose sight of the materiality of (acrylic) paint itself: viscous, tactile, moveable, at once liquid and solid, thick and thin. Paint as a primal conduit for channeling the energy of the artist’s gestural hand – the hand that can invest a face, whether still living, passed, or fictional, with a visceral life of its own.

 For as much as we might approach these portraits with any number of aesthetic predispositions or expectations, they approach us. Unfussy, honest and disarming, they are purely… present. Some might call Evans’ raw, simple style naïve. I call it brave.

Sunday, June 5, 2022

To A Torch Lighting Our Time And Place

 

To A Torch Lighting Our Time and Place

By Tom Wachunas


Jack McWhorter

Surveyor's Map

Serpent Lightning

Facing North

Ptolemy Diagram

 

   “The act of painting is a clash of different worlds, which in their conflict with each other create new worlds. For me, one of the most intriguing aspects of the studio is the quest for making paintings that have an equivalence in two or more directions. The paintings derive from a system of metaphors drawn from physical science. A kind of blank slate which allows me to describe what I think I know about existing in time and space, history and nature.” 

-Jack McWhorter (1950 – 2022)

Obituary:

https://www.beaconjournal.com/obituaries/pwoo0204635?fbclid=IwAR0_IF8a9XPP4Eyzzk9Fs9JdsKkEnb3s6LTLF-Cqs2gbYsCelsC2c-mPD_c

 

   EXHIBIT:    A Celebration of Jack McWhorter’s Life will take place on Saturday, June 11, 2022 from 4:00 - 7:00 pm at the Fine Arts Building at Kent State at Stark, located at 6000 Frank Avenue N. W., North Canton, Ohio 44720.  The exhibit will be on view through June, Mondays – Fridays, 9:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m. Jack's art will be for sale in the William J. and Pearl F. Lemmon Art Gallery and proceeds from the sales of his work will go to the Jack E. McWhorter Scholarship Fund at Kent State at Stark. Contributions for the Jack E. McWhorter Memorial Scholarship at Kent State at Stark may be sent to the KSU Foundation, P.O. Box 5190, Kent, OH, 44242, or online at givetokent.org.  Please make checks payable to the KSU Foundation and note "Jack E. McWhorter Memorial Scholarship" on the Memo line.

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   Slowly emerging from some long, sad weeks of mourning, of heart-numbing grief,… of wandering, of wondering why and what’s next…  I offer this post as an artist, teacher and writer who has known and worked with Jack McWhorter since 2007. I am blessed and grateful beyond measure.

   Blessed and grateful for my 15 continuous years of teaching Art as a World Phenomenon and Art History at Kent State University at Stark…all thanks to Jack McWhorter. Blessed and grateful for all the marvelous, impactful exhibits mounted right here at Kent Stark, introducing us to remarkable, significant artists from outside our region…all thanks to Jack McWhorter. Blessed and grateful for the gift of his unwavering passion for teaching, and for his prolific outpouring of wondrous original paintings. And finally, for his constant encouragement and support of my blog. For more than ten years, his paintings have inspired much of my best writing. Here are a few past observations.

   From May 11, 2017 – (Painting Center exhibit in NYC) These integrated systems of gestural and chromatic configurations can allow all manner of associations. They might indicate tangible, scientific phenomena and structures in the natural world, or signal the subtler workings of life on less visible planes. In any case, McWhorter continues to construct a painterly calligraphy of poetic singularities. In his paintings, the mysterious and the mundane are conflated into elegant coexistence. Here is a harmonious convergence of processes conscious and intuitive, processes both known and on the ephemeral cusp of coming into being.”

From November 23, 2021 (Painting Center exhibit in NYC)– “At the core of his aesthetic is a persistent navigation of tensions and harmonies within symbiotic dualities. His compositions, which he calls “live surfaces,” are clusters or matrixes of lines, shapes, and patterns that juxtapose accumulations and singularities, gatherings and dispersals. Like an explorer’s field notes on remembered sights and sites, places and spaces, his pictures often entwine a then with a now, as if remembering their own beginnings even as they are transformed by his imagination into new visual moments.”

From January 8, 2018, on his “Engraved Fields” exhibit at Canton Museum of art, which I was honored to curate:  “…Jack McWhorter has not set out to imitate or improve upon the look of nature. He doesn’t woo us with cosmetic, representational illusionism. Instead, his integrated systems of gestural and chromatic configurations are first and foremost true to themselves – ongoing revelations of what I recently heard him describe as his “personal archaeology.” While they might variably suggest things of private significance such as landscapes or architectures, or fascinating ontological phenomena in the realms of biology or chemistry, their meaning is far from exclusive. Think of them as metaphors for how we as viewers might navigate and process what Jack has called “…the sites of our intimate lives.” McWhorter’s personal archaeology in effect invites us to re-discover our own.”

   Please join me at Jack’s Celebration of Life exhibit. Let’s re-discover. Let’s honor, savor and remember. Let’s be blessed and grateful. Let’s stand in the light of the torch he held so high.