Thursday, July 20, 2023

Novus Ordo Seclorum


Novus Ordo Seclorum 

By Tom Wachunas 


   My most recent work is a collage on canvas (20” x 16”), called Scars and Stripes.

   OK, so I’m a word-play maniac. Maybe think of this piece as a crime seen, or State of the Contusion address. Let me explain:

In the course of human events, in order to form a more perfect  fight, we the people, in our twilight’s last perilous gleaming, give proof through the night of bombs, bursting what so proudly we hailed. Oh say!  Can you yet see, o’er the ramparts, a new order of the ages?

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Between the seams, a fibrous journal


Between the seams, a fibrous journal

Everloving (top) / Because You're Safe

I don't do well

after all these years who is that staring back at me?

you're more graceful than that

My stomach hurts

By Tom Wachunas

“What does it feel like when our race against the clock overshadows the likelihood of preserving memories? Moving through grief, time, and the end of a transformative decade, I explore my origins in an effort to grasp this new life…”  - Sarah C. Blanchette artist statement

“Sometimes you will never know the value of something until it becomes a memory.”  - Dr. Seuss 

EXHIBIT: Sarah C. Blanchette: All Shook Uptextiles and mixed media prints / Through July 23, 2023, in Studio M at Massillon Museum /  located at 121 Lincoln Way East in downtown Massillon. For more information, call 330-833-4061, or visit

From Massillon Museum: “Sarah C. Blanchette is a photo-based fiber artist who works out of the Detroit area. Through repetitive acts of hand and machine sewing and physical manipulations of the self-portrait, she documents her coming of age in a digital world while embarking on a journey toward growth and autonomy in womanhood.”


   Inside this remarkably provocative Studio M exhibit of works by Sarah C. Blanchette, the very air in the room feels dense, even desperate. Saturated with introspective solemnity. The walls themselves project a gravitas. They’re not supporting bright, eye-popping colors. Instead, they appear stark and heavy, weighted with billowy splotches of …what?

   All the pieces were made with digital thermal print scans printed on velvet, cotton thread, vinyl and batting, and largely handsewn. Blanchette calls them “tactile tapestries,” and “journal-esque monochrome velvet quilts.” Imagery and words are stitched together, gleaned from personal and familial sources, spanning various moments across time, including voice recordings and family communications posted in social media. In her statement, the artist writes that, “…when brought together, these documentations served as resources to express the terror that time is slipping away…”  Blanchette also adds that her artworks “…beg the viewer to consider their weight.”

    So here’s one of those potent occasions when viewing art evokes, of all things, spelunking. Don’t just glance at this art. See into it, as if peering into, and then entering, a cave. A cave holding memories. Some bright and bold, others a bit murky. In any case, what I find most engaging about Blanchette’s works are the intriguing questions they raise about the dynamics, the lifespan, the preservation of memories and the truths they hold, or hide.

   Does a memory have a physique, a measurable mass or weight? Can a memory exude light? If so, will that illuminated physical presence, that present-ness, be necessarily diminished by the relentless passage of time? And during that inevitable passage, will the light from our accumulated memories be dimmed or fade away completely?

    Making art is certainly one of our culture’s most courageous – and loving - acts of memory preservation. As Blanchette so poignantly observes in her statement, her new pieces “…have become the most dependable form of preservation…They won’t ever disappear, even as their subjects do.”

   One more metaphor. Truly compelling artworks are like the sturdiest of ships carrying real treasure, and able to survive the storm-ravaged seas of passing time. Sarah Blanchette’s creations are indeed see-worthy vessels.

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Scott Alan Evans Phones Home


Scott Alan Evans Phones Home

Alien Egg III


Chestburster (ALIEN)

Ack Ack Ack (Mars Attacks)

Blair Thing

Palmer Thing

By Tom Wachunas

“You know, Burke, I don’t know which species is worse.” – Ripley, from Alien

“Klaatu barada nikto.” – from The Day the Earth Stood Still 

EXHIBIT: Shock! Horror! Whizz! Bang! – Paintings by Scott Alan Evans / at Patina Arts Center / 324 Cleveland Avenue NW in downtown Canton, Ohio / Through July 29, 2023 / Gallery hours: Thursday Noon to 8p.m., Friday 7p.m. to 10p.m., Saturday Noon to 9p.m.

   Imagine, if you dare, watching the likes of Edvard Munch, Francis Bacon or Vincent van Gogh (and for that matter, a host of other expressionist paint pushers, living and dead, do come to mind here) pumped up on some sorta performance-enhancer (not that they really need it), and then executing a portrait.

 Well…they’re heeeere. Get a load of the spanking new works by Scott Alan Evans.

   So yes, the pictures in this exhibit are, for the most part, portraits. In this case, portraits of some iconic characters from Movie Land. To be precise, monsters, robots, and aliens you might love to hate or hate to love. As formal compositions, they’re uncomplicated, never too cute, and all at once simple, stark, halting, haunting.

   In as much as I’ve come to detest the woefully overused term ‘painterly’ as an adequate descriptor of artistic technique, for the moment I plead guilty to applying it. To be more specific, Evans’ acrylic paintings on canvas are ample proof of a very aggressive if not playful hand at work. His is a frenzied - and to some degree delightfully puerile - hand, given to spontaneous moments of laying down colors impasto-style, then quickly adding tonal variations that get unceremoniously smooshed, swiped or scraped. Call it a rude blending. And interestingly enough, these visceral surfaces don’t look so much like the liquid rubbery stuff of acrylic, but rather exude an unrefined, earthy sheen of oil paint. So…painterly it is after all.

   I can see how avid fans of kitschy sci-fi horror flicks, gripped as they may be by feverish nostalgia, could well find these works “charming” in some darker sense of the word. Some of the paintings are unabashedly lurid caricatures. Others have a genuine, humorous edge about them. Still others are truly frightening in their unfettered boldness.

   Whatever your tastes may be, I highly recommend coming to the gallery this coming Saturday, July 15, 7p.m. to 9p.m., to meet and talk with Scott Alan Evans as he discusses his inspiration and processes.

  While you’re there, be sure to ask him: Ack ack ack, klaatu barada niktu?