Thursday, March 12, 2009

First Friday at ArtBox, Stutz, & Wug's

The ArtBox was my first destination because I just had to see Jennifer Complo McNutt’s “Rock, Paper, Scissors”. The description of turning 200 pounds of airport confiscated scissors into objects d’art sounded like fun. But alas I was disappointed. While massive, the curtain of single strands of connected scissors failed to catch my interest. I found the photo from the show’s promo pieces to be much more delightful (shown above).

Dante Ventresca’s gridded wall of work displayed more of a level of compulsion than creative control. Each work on paper was embossed with a similar pattern to evoke the impressions found on a sketch pad when a pencil has been firmly pressed onto pages below. The colors worked over the striations all had the same globular oval structure. A few seemed just on the verge of trying to become three dimensional but didn’t quite make it around the event horizon. It’s unfortunate that the color themes couldn’t at least have attempted to attach some kind of emotional involvement with the viewer. It’s not surprising that Dante chose to title each work after a geometrical point.

The most I can say about the large charcoal works by Dale Nally is that they evoked warm memories. I’ve read that Nally is a highly collected artist. The description from the show literature reads, “...the contemporary abstract work of Dale Nally is unique in its ability to transcend the limits of categorization, definition, and time.” Nice copywriting, but artwork should be able to stand on it’s own without descriptions. Oh, and my memory.... Examining up close the deep, dark, black tones of the charcoal reminded me of my first Jon Gnagy’s Learn to Draw Set when I was about 8 and 9. I loved those black, gray, and light gray charcoal sticks and would grab my supplies when I heard his TV show theme song.

Crossing the street and entering the Stutz Art Space was like cleansing the palate. Here was art that while seemingly simple, provided the viewer with a sense that the artists, Kate Oberreich and Carol L. Myers, care about the quality of their pieces.

Mary Ann Michna and Ellie Siskind compare thoughts at the Stutz

Ginny Taylor Rosner continues her series of photographing empty warehouses. This collection of greenhouses could be her best examples yet of capturing haunting images of locations that had long ago seen the enterprise and hustle & bustle of better times.

Finally the must see event of the night had to be Wug Laku’s Studio & Garage. Billed as “Hi-POP” this two artist show features William Ray Denton and James Ratliff in a “mashup of pop culture and fine art”. Even though this exhibit was proclaimed to be fun art where what was learned in art school was thrown out, it was evident that the throwing out part didn’t work. While humorous, the artists still display a control of their medium and understanding of composition.

What made this show important to note was the environment more than the art. Wug provided the kind of experience more galleries should embrace. Hi-POP was more of a party where friends and strangers could intermix amid the atmosphere of culture (albeit not the black tie kind) and art. Everyone was welcomed and made to feel a part of the happening.


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