The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The pieces on view represent many good artists from four major organizations: Artists of Rubber City, Akron Society of Artists, Cuyahoga Valley Art Center and Women’s Art League of Akron. Organizers report that 103 pieces were turned in, with 68 making the cut to be both on display and in competition for prize money and honor.
The variety of media was far-reaching. There were several paintings (oils, acrylics, oil and pencil, watercolors and the like), three-dimensional works (ceramics, found object assemblage, alabaster, clay and, believe it or not, recycled bras), along with blown glass, glassworks, digital photography, fiber, various mixed media, collages, drawings and wood fired stoneware.
Usually my eye goes to paintings, especially to watercolors and acrylics. Not this time. What seemed to stand out were the three-dimensional works (which I generally would walk by without even a nod).
Robert Carpenter’s “Pavilion for Storytelling (Lullabye)” is extremely eye catching. The assemblage piece is a take off of a proscenium for a metaphorical drama with an ironic twist. Small flying pigs embedded on the work suggest that artful fancy rather than serious narrative is at work, in the same way that the blowfish erected on top of the work undercuts ultimate seriousness.
Carpenter said in an interview at the opening that he thinks of his approach as “comic existentialism,” a phrase that he heard once and liked. Along that line, Carpenter added that a piece of wood along the side of the road caught his eye. He drove by it three times before finally stopping, he added. It became the base for the work.
James Leslie’s “Put-Im Shore Drift” is a ceramic piece that looks, among other suggestions, like a squid, an alien broken tree, and several other things. The work has a strong luxurious color pallet and an engaging array of contouring lines.
The interest in sculptural pieces sure didn’t mean that there weren’t any two-dimensional works that didn’t make viewers stop and consider. Linda Nye’s “Misty Green,” an impressionistic work in colors that give the piece its name, exudes atmosphere.
Clarissa Jakobsons’ “Portrait of Aphrodite,” is, as the artist commented during a conversation, “different faces of a person.” There are three images in different colors. “Which,” the artist offered, “is the real person?” Three people were looking at the work at one time, and each chose differently for various reasons. The work is both evocative, appealing, and brilliantly executed. It’s well worth a look.
“Kaleidoscope 2012” will be on view Thursday from 12-9 p.m. and Friday-Saturday from 12-5 p.m. through December 31, in Summit Artspace, 140 E. Market St., Akron; 330-376-8480; www.akronareaarts.org. Admission is free.