Come What May - Part 80
PUN, by Tom Wachunas The Last Cowboy, by Todd Bergert The Fall, by Murli Narayan The Catholic, by William Bogdan Articulated Agave II, By Diane Belfiglio Venice Street, by Bruce Humbert Chrome Lady, by Thomas Kilpatrick Data Entry, by Daniel Vaughn
By Tom Wachunas
EXHIBIT: 80th ANNUAL MAY SHOW/ at The LITTLE ART GALLERY, located in The North Canton Public Library, 185 North Main Street, North Canton, Ohio/ Viewing hours: Mon.-Thurs. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Fri. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. / THROUGH JUNE 24, 2023
Jury-awarded works (Best-in-Show, Second Place, Third Place) pictured here (open the hyperlink):
This hallowed ritual usually features a remarkably abundant diversity of media and content. While handsomely mounted to be sure, this year’s exhibit of 31 works somehow feels…small. However well-crafted, maybe it’s the preponderance of entries tending toward the formulaic or nostalgic, often settled into the cute and conventional.
The photos I include here are of those pieces that I found especially captivating.
Throughout many iterations of this annual event, Diane Belfiglio has been a deserving and frequent presence. Her recent sudden passing means she won’t be blessing us any more with her unique and sublime captures of sunlight and shadow, making her beautiful watercolor, Articulated Agave II, an altogether bittersweet encounter.
For you connoisseurs of classic Flemish-technique oil painting, the masterful draughtsmanship, the startling realism of fine textures, and the chromatic richness in the paintings by Tod Bergert (The Last Cowboy) and Murli Narayan are truly exquisite. Narayan’s painting, The Fall, is a particularly playful application of thinking outside the box. Those autumnal gourds appear to be falling out of the illusory picture frame. An arresting illusion within an illusion.
And speaking more of ‘playful,’ there’s Daniel Vaughn’s Data Entry. You might read this dazzling arrangement of Lego tiles as a newfangled sort of QR code. Translation: scintillating rhythmic complexity.
William Bogdan’s The Catholic is a large and engrossing woodcut print. It exudes a soaring yet fragile Gothic monumentality. A priest, appearing dwarfed by the enormity of his surrounds, stands in the center aisle, facing the steps leading up to the altar. All the church pews behind him are empty but for one silhouetted figure, sitting alone, encased in what looks like a white body halo. There’s a haunting here. A question, maybe even an irony. Under the towering, vaulted ceiling of architectural heaven, what carries more weight, more actual sanctity? The standing priest with an audience of one? All that elaborate, mute ornamentality of the surrounding statues and icons? Or is it the solitary seated figure emanating white light?
Whenever my own work appears in a juried group exhibit that I’m posting about here in my blog (as is the case with this exhibit, which includes my newest work, titled Pun), I’ve always acknowledged the jurors’ acceptance with gratitude and left it at that, with no further comments on my own work.
This time’s a bit different. So yes, I’m certainly grateful. AND, here’s some shameless self-promotion. My piece belongs here. It’s the ONLY ‘cutting-edge’ art (wink wink, nudge nudge) in the entire exhibit. You might call it a political commentary. With tongue-in-cheese, however, I think of it simply as a still life about the fomented state of our broken culture. E Pluribus Unum, shredded.