ReviewArt

Art Experiences in Bloomington, Indiana, and elsewhere

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Gallery Hopping

This friday was another First Friday in Bloomington, Indiana,  which meant that all the art galleries in town had opening receptions for new shows.  I usually avoid such mega-soirees and the associated gallery hopping crowds, but this time my friend -- The Famous New York Art Critic -- dragged me along as he gallery hopped all over town.
art is where you find it

The crowds were thick for First Friday and decked out in striking finery.  The finest finery was probably to be found at Pictura.  Pictura is a gallery that only shows photographs, but very high quality photographs.  It 's more like the kind of gallery one would expect to see in a place like Chicago - a little bit of an odd duck in Bloomington.

a different show at Pictura...

When my friend and I walked into Pictura this weekend it felt like we were in Chicago or New York.  The gallery was crowded with understatedly glamorous people and understatedly powerful people - that was the impression, anyway.  It was a bit overwhelming.    So different from the normal Bloomington vibe.    The photographer on display, Steve McCurry, is very famous.

This was my favorite piece  in the show  - incredibly powerful and very much like some paintings I have been working on.

Another photography show was at the Gallery 406.  This time the photographer was local, Michael Finger,  and the crowd was a little less fancy.  The photos gloried in the textured of abandoned places - the sorts of glories that hide openly in so many urban places.


I was inspired and found a few of my own as my friend and I walked from gallery to gallery ...



Natural decay and human intervention can become even more beautiful when they are layered, as they are on graffitied surfaces sometimes...


The Famous New York Art Critic was inspired to try to re-inhabit an abandoned space...

More art was found in that space, which it turned out was not as abandoned as it looked, including vigorous lino-prints by Laurel Leonetti that have graffiti energy ...
... though small in size...


These are drawings that are done by a carving process that look like they could be Calder-ish sculptures...

A set of paintings nearby seemed to answer the question of what paintings by Jackson Pollock and Willem  DeKooning would look like if they were the same person...

The painter is David Long.
The show is Four Views at the Fell Gallery...

Sean Pendergast offered a taste of minimalism... 

... mixed with a bit of expressionist energy...

Lines with structure and lines searching for structure?
detail 

Surreal agonies were explored by Eric Woodworth ...

Woodworth combines figuration and abstraction elegantly, using a graphic sensibility...
... and a painterly sensibility...

Marvelous prints by Bloomington artists were to be seen at The Vault and at Blueline Gallery, but one of the best shoes I've ever seen was at the Waldron Art Center...

Emilio Maldonado is from Saint Louis, but he grew up in the Dominican Republic and this affects his work, which sees American consumer culture both from inside and outside.   Consumer good such as mockingly plastic foods and clothes that are certain to have that line-dried smell literally erupt from televisions...


Emilio is definitely present in his work...
... in a way that reminds me of the iconic Black Panther picture of Huey Newton...

The crutches that seem to be both machine guns and missiles are fascinating.  Do they refer to the way our society always pretends to be the victim when usually it is the instigator of conflict?  Maldonado speaks of "hyperbole" as if it were unrealistic, but I think it takes a long time for hyperbole to catch up with reality.

It didn't take long for the Famous New York Art Critic to catch up to Maldonado's reality...



The most enigmatic piece seems to have to do with old adage, 'clothes make the man' ...

Dollparts - maimed but somehow still standing as if they did not realize it and had become zombies...


Not all the plastic propaganda in the world can, it seems, keep us from being absorbed into our own wars.

Maldonado seems to appreciate both the seductions and the nightmarish aspects of consumerism...


Rarely does Bloomington see such powerful work.  Thankyou  Emilio Maldonado.

Karen Holtzclaw is perhaps Bloomington's most gentle and empathetic artist.  Showing at the Bellevue Gallery, she too takes on consumerism, in a way, searching for the meanings to be found in relationships between objects that seem to creep into our lives...


Karen digs deeper, finding resonances between symbols of ending and beginning...
No one paints with warmth and wit better than Karen Holtzclaw.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Don Geyra at The Venue

One of Bloomington's foremost painters, Don Geyra, is showing in Bloomington again, at The Venue.
Don is a cool cat whose journey took him from Bloomington (grad. school in painting), to a successful career in NYC as an artist, as a manager at CBGB and as a scenic creator for film, television and broadway and now back to bucolic Bloomington...


Don spoke about these and other matters at The Venue the other day.  

Geyra is a great raconteur, full of stories about punk rock stars, great movie directors and the glory days of Bad Old New York City, when it was a decaying monster but still very much the greatest city in the world.  

Now Geyra is living in the Hoosier Hills and has made Life in the Hoosier Hills his topic...


The way I understood it, the main theme of Don's talk was the importance of discipline, in the sense of knowing one's craft, for the creative artist.  Geyra specifically cited Johnny Ramone as someone that who might be thought of as opposed to discipline who was actually very disciplined.

Showing at the same time as Don Geyra was jewelry artist Lori McDonald, of CharmHouse.    Lori makes both jewelry and small assemblages.  Both kinds of work truly are charming.

Lori demonstrated her work in front of one of Don Geyra's paintings...
Together they made me thing of the famous Manet painting...
Lori McDonald collaborates with other artists, so her pieces range from charmingly representational to abstract...

Don Geyra's studio seems to be imbedded in the southern Indiana landscape...

Meanwhile a completely different artist has been showing at the Waldron Art Center, Rick McCoy...
McCoy's show is called Spin City...




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