Today, May 31, is the registration deadline for the advanced painting class to be held by Caleb Knodell as part of the Arkansas Arts Center's Museum School. Knodell, an apprentice of Odd (pronounced "Ode") Nerdrum of Paris and Norway, whose work on paper is in the collection of the Arts Center, will teach from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 4-7 at the Terry House Community Gallery. "Figures in Space" will focus on painting the figure from life and will cover priming, building texture, composition and harmonizing color and tone. Students should have previous experience in oils.
The class is $360 for members, $450 for non-members and limited in size to 10 students.
Arkansas painter Kathy Bay's watercolor, "Puzzling," has been accepted in the "2012 Watercolor USA Exhibition" in Springfield, Mo., she informs Eye Candy. The show runs June 9-Aug. 5 at the Springfield Art Museum. Juror Miranda Lash, curator of modern and contemporary art at the New Orleans Museum of Art, chose 113 paintings by 102 artists from among 666 entries.
The watercolor is the second work Bay has on exhibit at the museum, she says; the other is in a National Watercolor Honor Society exhibition there.
Something there is that loves a stick in Arkansas. (I am resisting the temptation to write stick in the sticks.) Artists are making sculpture from stripped branches and fallen limbs all over the place in Northwest Arkansas. In Fayetteville, it's Patrick Dougherty, who's been working for weeks on a stick sculpture on the Tyson Plaza of the museum, a project that's involved lots of Fayettevillians as well as the artist. In Eureka Springs, it's Lorna Hirsch and David Pettit and Steve Beacham and lots of other artists contributing to the "Finding Nature: Artworks in the Landscape" gallery exhibit and woodsy installations.
Here's Dougherty's work at Walton Arts Center:
And a picture of CEO Peter Lane (in green T-shirt) and Dougherty:
And Lorna Hirsch's cedar structures in the woods around her at her studio, Fire Om Earth Retreat Center, 872 Mill Hollow Road, through June 15:
Eureka artist David Pettit's sculpture made cedar logs and stones gathered from Hogscald Creek, Keels Creek, and the Kings River, installed near Wilson Branch.
Steve Beacham and bamboo poles, part of the Finding Nature show:
And this on Rockhouse Road, posted on the "Finding Nature" facebook page by Ranaga Fabiarz:
The "Rockefeller Influence" exhibit at the Arkansas Arts Center will open Wednesday, May 30, and not today, as previously scheduled.
The exhibit will feature works contributed by the Rockefeller family or in honor of the Rockefellers and is part of the centennial celebration of Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller. Winthrop and Jeannette Rockefeller made the Arts Center possible, thanks to their guidance during an initial capital campaign in the 1960s and continued financial support.
Among the works in the show: Odilon Redon's "Andromeda" (above) and works by George Bellows, Georges Braque, Jean-Baptiste Corot, Honore Daumier, Edgar Degas, Eugene Delacroix, Charles Demuth ... well that's just some big guys at the top of the alphabet. You get the picture.
The exhibit, which includes photographs and other materials, follows the development of the 18-acre White House gardens and grounds, created by Pierre Charles L'Enfant, to the present. Laman will host a reception from 6-8 p.m. Friday, June 1, and former executive groundskeeper Mike Lawn (yes, that's his name!) and Little Rock garden pro Janet Carson will give a talk at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 2.
The library gallery is on the second floor and there's a coffee shop and lounge nearby for thinking green thumb thoughts.
21c Museum Hotel's snail trail will soon lead to Bentonville, the museum's director of art programming announced today. The "escargatoire" of pink snails "will appear in trees and on rooftops surrounding the Bentonville Square" during the month of June, when Bentonville celebrates ArtsFest 2012, the press release said.
The art collective Cracking Art makes the snails from recycled plastic. Lest you think there was something about Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art or Arkansas that suggested the snail image, understand that pink snails are 21c's thing, and have been placed pink snail groups in about 10 other locations by the hotel, according to its website.
According to Cracking Art founder Renzo Nucara, the snail was chosen because it "carries its shelter on its back, thus addressing where and how we live; the snail moves slowly through the world, reminding us to slow down, to pause and reflect; the spiral of the snail shell resembles an ear, which may, “remind people to listen;” and the spiral design recalls the @ symbol associated with email (in Italy, the @ symbol is called a snail), referencing digital communication."
The release also explains the name of the collective: Cracking is the chemical reaction that occurs when raw crude oil is converted into plastic, "or the moment when natural becomes artificial."
The 21c hotel is slated to open in 2013 in Bentonville just off the square, near the southern walking entrance to Crystal Bridges.
"Best of the South" 2012
At Greg Thompson Fine Art May 18-July 10.
Glennray Tutor, William Dunlap, Walter Anderson, Robert Rector, Carroll Cloar ... they're among the best artists of the South and work by them and other Southern masters are on exhibit at Greg Thompson Fine Art, 429 Main St., North Little Rock. Check it out tonight at the Argenta ArtWalk from 5-8 p.m. and/or tomorrow at 1 p.m., when Dunlap, Dr. Betsy Bradley of the Mississippi Museum of Art, Pinkney Herbert, Rector and Ed McGowin will participate in a panel discussion, "What's Hot in Southern Regionalism: Past, Present and Future." Admission to the lecture, sponsored by the Capital Hotel, is $10. Call 664-2787 for more information.
Tonight's the night for the monthly Argenta ArtWalk in downtown NLR and our online calendar lists all the exhibits going on along Main Street from 5-8 p.m.; note the new venues featuring one-night exhibits. Some gallery highlights:
Cheri Peden is showing her newest paintings, rural landscapes, some on ceiling tins, in an exhibit called "A Worn Path: Southern Reflections" at Ketz Gallery, 705 Main St. In a press release, Peden says, "My passion for old family stories, southern history and painting is reflected in my current show, along with the influences of Acadian architecture, vegetable gardens, and New Orleans.” Ketz has work by other known artists as well and will serve up "light refreshments" tonight.
The King Elementary School exhibition of work by third and fourth graders continues at the Thea Foundation and tonight's reception will feature other young artists: the King Elementary jazz band and orchestra. The artists will be at the reception to talk to visitors about their works. Artist Nathan Archie says his drawing (below) was inspired by the work of Jacob Lawrence.
Demonstrating his craft at the Argenta Branch of the Laman Library will be shaker box maker Roger Bartz; his wife, artist Martha Bartz, will also be there.
Next item up: "Best of the South" at Greg Thompson Fine Art.
Gallery 26, 2601 Kavanaugh, opens an exhibit of new paintings by Katherine Strause and Jason Smith on Saturday, May 19, with a reception from 7 to 10 p.m. There will be live music and the place will be crammed elbow to elbow, if it's like most Gallery 26 openings. Strause takes inspiration from photographs in sort of a reverse preservation of memory; Smith's work includes atmospheric landscapes.
Since we mentioned an acquisition of the Arkansas Arts Center earlier, here's another announcement: The College of the Ouachitas in Malvern has added to its permanent collection Barbara Cade's "Arkansas' Fallen." Cade's work — leaves of handmade felt, linen and acrylic on handmade paper, records the names of all Arkansans who died in the Iraq war. The original had 45 inscribed leaves; the Arkansas war dead at the war's end December 2011, now totals 101. She is adding the last 10 names now; the ground is fairly carpeted.
"Wandering Thoughts" is the first Southall in the Arts Center's permanent collection. The pre-Raphaelite work is one of only a few on paper, Arts Center director Todd Herman said in a press release. His comment on the work:
“Drawing on paper that has been treated with a thin, colored gesso ground requires a very high level of skill,” said Herman. “Lines must be precise since errors cannot be erased nor changes made without smudging and ruining the gesso ground layer. Not only is this a beautiful drawing, but it adds depth to our collection in terms of quality and technique.
The drawing is on exhibit in the Winthrop Rockefeller Foyer.
Full release on the jump.
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has decided to shut down its Community School of the Arts, a year-round, 33-year-old institution bringing high-level instruction to students of all ages in the visual and performing arts, Kindermusik and Chinese language instruction.
Leslie J. Mangiamele, school director for 18 years and an adjunct professor of visual art in UALR's art department, said the program will end Aug. 15, after its Summer Arts Camp and Summer String Camp end.
"The problem is the bottom line," Mangiamele said. "The dean could not see a way around not cutting our salaries." She said the school has been under threat of closure for several years, but survived an attempt to close it two years ago because of support support.
Deborah Baldwin, dean of UALR's college of arts, humanities and social sciences, said yesterday she considers the closing of the school as temporary. She said the university will study a consultant's report made in March on how to make the program self-sufficient and present a proposal to the provost in July 2013.
About 1,000 children and adults are enrolled in the program, which has seen growth over the years. Tuition pays for faculty (81 percent), operating costs (8 percent) and reimburses UALR for facilities' use (11 percent). It does not pay the salaries for the director and her assistant. Baldwin said the school "has regularly been $75,000 to $85,000 in the red" — by which she means the university is paying the salaries — and UALR would like the program to be entirely self-supporting. Baldwin said she did not know how many university community schools are self-supporting. Mangiamele said that deficit budgets for the schools "are sort of the nature community schools."
The school was opened in 1979, Mangiamele said, "to make these wonderful professors [at UALR] in the arts accessible to people in the community." The faculty includes arts professionals and those with advanced degrees as well as UALR instructors teaching the once-a-week classes.
“I feel terrible about the students we have been nurturing from age 5 to their teen-age years” to become arts professionals, Mangiamele said.
Mangiamele is one of four visual art instructors. There are also 12 music instructors, a dance instructor and a language instructor. A string instructor, the language instructor, an art instructor and three piano teachers will lose their only employment, Mangiamele said.
"I'm sorry we're in this position," Dean Baldwin said. "We would love to be able to continue ... we just have to figure out how to make this work."
Ironically, the school was created because of cutbacks in the arts in the public schools. The Community School's website includes this statement:
"When considering the education of the children in our community, we discover that for a variety of reasons our schools have been unable to provide consistent and varied arts instruction. Sadly, music and visual art classes are the first to be cut when money is short. To address this, the UALR Community School of the Arts, initiated in 1979, was created."
The school will continue after a fashion, Mangiamele said, thanks to an offer of studio space by Rhythm 88 on Bowman Road. She'd like to see the program get its own space. "We could use a house, a building ... empty strip malls. ... Give us a space and we will continue to do high quality stuff."
UALR ended its planetarium and Urban Design programs in the past few years; neither was resurrected.
Eureka Springs is in the midst of celebrating its annual May Festival of the Arts, with visual and performing artists appearing all over town, in galleries, restaurants ("A Taste of Art"), banks and Basin Springs Park. There's a class in winemaking today at Keel's Creek Winery and Gallery, and the White Street Studio Walk, the Books in Bloom Literary Festival and a garden tour are coming up later in the week.
But Eureka always goes out on a limb, and it did so literally this year with the "Finding Nature — Art in the Landscape" installations around Carroll County. Artists were invited to create outdoor sculptures from fallen dead limbs and branches collected on pasture land at the Hills of Keels Creek (see above).
Organized by Christopher Fischer and John Rankine, the exhibit features 23 Eureka Springs artists. There will be a gallery exhibit as well the site installations; opening reception is set for 5 p.m. May 19 at The Space, 2 Pine St., across from the Post Office.
Because Eureka is Eureka, artists will celebrate the closing of the exhibit May 27 by setting several of the outdoor sculptures on fire. The blaze is set for 5-10 p.m. that day. The Hills of Keels Creek is off of Rockhouse Road, and is the first road left after the second bridge.
A pocket map giving directions to the installations will be available at various locations. You can read more on the Finding Nature Facebook page.
Hot Springs pottery Jim Larkin, who with his wife, Barbara, has owned Fox Pass pottery for 40 years, has been named the 2012 Arkansas Living Treasure by the Arkansas Arts Council.
The award recognizes an Arkansas artisan for his career, preservation of his traditional craft and efforts educating others. Larkin, 65, has participated in the Arkansas Arts Council's Arts in Education program, taught ceramics at the National Park Community College, taught at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Science and Arts and has given classes around Arkansas.
From a news release (read in its entirety on the jump):
"I've always been a maker," he said. "You know how people sometimes say that their most influential book is the Bible? As a kid, mine was W. Ben Hunt's 'Big Book of Indian Crafts.' "
The Trinity contemporary art gallery of the Historic Arkansas Museum and the hallways outside are hung with art by four artists who know their media and their minds. Nate Powell, mentioned here earlier, is a master of the pen and ink graphic novel and his works, original sketches for pages from his books, show a sure and unique hand. Emily Wood uses plywood as a metaphor for her subject matter — scenes of family relaxing in the country — and as clever way to add atmosphere and texture to her sketchy acrylic and graphite portraits. Jason Powers has perfected the use of the pencil and airbrushed graphite so that he can get right to the point in his work, some of it so detailed and abstract that it would be right at home in the Arkansas Arts Center's drawing invitational, "Singular Drawings," works that feature an obsessive line. Tim Imhauser knows exactly what he's doing with his wood, though of the four he is the only one who is all over the place in style, with neatly turned vessels, bowls with metal inlays and barely worked chunks of wood that have been carved and painted. They have all reached a point in their careers where their footing feels sure, if not rooted in one spot.
Powers' "The Ritual" — one of the obsessive works — uses abstracted images of animal forms that come from the creepy crawly world of herps and weird animals: fins and spikes and eyeballs and hoses and articulated tails and scales and frogs, things that are drawn beautifully and deeply uncomfortable to look at. (Please forgive the quality of the phone photos that follow.)
In his portraiture, Powers uses a soft line (sometimes airbrushed) to create dimension, so that while we don't have the satisfaction of seeing the individual strokes the way we would in, say, Chuck Close, there is a sculptural effect. It verges on the superficial at times but is still finely done:
Wood on wood: smiling, warm happy people, the sketchy pretty opposite of Powers' nightmarish and tightly drawn figures. In a painting of two men, she shows that she can go beyond sketch into more completely rendered faces, as the detail below shows.
One of my favorite Imhauser pieces is called "Tribute to Elizabeth," as in blacksmith Elizabeth Brim, whose terrific work you might have seen at UALR in the 2009 exhibit "Form Follows Function, Or Does It?" and elsewhere. Imhauser has added a forged iron knob and legs to his spalted ash bowl:
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