Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Roads into Arboreal Auras


 Roads into Arboreal Auras

Cartography, nos. 1, 2, and 3


Filtered Light

Reflected Light

Morning Light


By Tom Wachunas

   "We have all found ourselves looking for “detours” during the last two and a half years. Ways to pass time; ways to stay safe; ways to calm our own anxieties; and maybe even ways to escape. My detours found me traveling near and far to appreciate simplicity, solitude, and a bit more of myself." - Chris Triner 

“…I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”  - From “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost


EXHIBIT: DETOURS, new works by Christopher Triner/ Through October 31, 2022 / at Cyrus Custom Framing & Art Gallery, 2645 Cleveland Avenue NW, Canton, Ohio / gallery viewing hours Mondays-Fridays 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Saturdays 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

   A possible starting point for appreciating the title of this exhibit of new paintings by Christopher Triner – Detours – could be to consider his trio of small square mixed-media abstractions called Cartography, nos. 1, 2, and 3. They suggest aerial maps of urban districts, or perhaps neighborhoods. Their bold patterns of geometric shapes and regulated straight lines (streets?) feel  like an incursion - a   trespassing - on otherwise serene clouds of subtly shifting colors.

    It’s that curious juxtaposition of static enclosures and unobstructed airiness, of concrete constructions seemingly afloat on ethereal surrounds, which affected me with a desire to look for a road not into, but out of town as it were. To find a place to simply breathe in, and savor a timeless, healing light.

   And that’s precisely what so many of the other paintings in this exhibit provide. Triner’s brushwork is facile and assertive, imbuing his sylvan visions with an expressive spontaneity. There’s also plenty of attention to rendering ligneous and foliate textures, but never to the point of being overly -precious.

   The enchanting power and beauty in these paintings is in their breathtaking capture of light and how Triner has let it inhabit his luscious palette. Even in the most shadowed or dark pockets of the woods, the colors retain a distinctive aura. And when the sun is filtered through the arboreal canopy, the ground becomes a dance floor of sorts, dappled with rhythms of flickering, shimmering pools and puddles of brightness, looking sometimes like so many iridescent footprints.

   Welcome to where light is a tactile reality unto itself. Walk, bask, smile, dance. Just what the doctor ordered.

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 


Mothra Getting Distracted

Ghost with Brains


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:

     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.