"Poetic Transformations" at UALR
Last week I wrote about "Poetic Transformations," an exhibition of work by five national women artists that opens tomorrow, Aug. 15, in Gallery I of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Here's a slideshow of the work in the exhibition.
In his introductory essay, curator and UALR gallery director Brad Cushman wrote, in part, about the theme of the show:
The postwar American Dream of the 20th Century seems to be a tenuous daydream in the wake of the recent financial meltdown, the unstable housing market and global climate change. Many critics have pronounced ‘the dream’ and the material trappings associated with it to long since be dead, yet there is still a yearning to attain and hold on to that dream. The security of the prized possession earned has not been enough for many to overcome the feelings of aloneness in a modern world.
For over 350, years growth through capitalism and technology has been the fuel driving Western economic and social progress. The competition and aggression of industrialization in a market economy coupled with overpopulation has exploited and continues to exploit nature. Today, environmental science is pointing to climate changes on our planet and telling us to live in harmony with nature. The loneliness and isolation many experience in this modern world of ‘prosperity’ can be directly linked to their loss of intimacy with nature. Culture comes from nature and our internal clocks need to be recalibrated to be in tune with nature. Caroline Merchant, the author of The Death of Nature states: “The world we have lost was organic.”
Between their fixed ideas, Alice Leora Briggs, Jacqueline Bishop, Sylvie Rosenthal, Holly Laws, and Jennifer Anderson poetically navigate iconic symbols and forms. There is an intimacy in the artworks exhibited by these women. Private, personal and political, the tone and tenor of their remarks make them vulnerable as they examine how the relationship between the human world and the natural world continues to transform.
Cushman drew the work by Briggs (silkscreen and clayboard), Rosenthal (woodwork), Bishop (mixed media), UCA art professor Laws (sculpted geodes) and Anderson (mud and steel) from the collections of the Arkansas Arts Center; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art; Blue Spiral 1 Contemporary Art Gallery in Ashville, N.C.; Evoke Contemporary in Santa Fe, N.M.; Arthur Rogers Gallery in New Orleans, La., private individuals and the artists themselves.
Last week I wrote that Rosenthal's sculpture of a building in the Old West riding the back of a ram was "clearly" referring to the weight of the man-made on the natural world. This week I'm thinking, nah. It's about the conjunction of the two. (I'll let you know when I change my mind again.)
The exhibition runs through Oct. 3.
Both Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling celebrated a birthday today (July 31), turning 32 (yes, he was born in 1980) and 47, respectively. You can celebrate by checking out the HP exhibit at the Central Arkansas Library System Main Library. The exhibit, which wraps up Aug. 11, is focused on the potions, people, plants, and animals of his world. White it’s relatively small (only six informative panels and some HP-related odds and ends, as well as some Potter-centric drinks and snacks next door at the Cox Creative Center’s Bookends Cafe), true fans will enjoy reading about the historical side of Rowling’s series.
Two friends accompanied me on my trip to the exhibit, and while we were a bit disappointed about its small scale, I later realized that it didn’t matter much to me. Die-hard fans will take all they can get, and having the educational exhibition at the library was enough for me.
For HP-loving kids, teens, and adults alike, the Main Library will be hosting a range of Potter events until the end of the exhibit, including a screening of the final two movies ("Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" parts 1 and 2), wand-crafting, a wizard cooking class, and a lecture on medieval magic. (Adults with even the slightest interest in the medieval will want to make this lecture, by Dr. Laura Smoller, at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 7.) The exhibition concludes with a Harry Potter party on Aug. 11. To find out more about the exhibit and specific dates for the events, go here.
Why can't Little Rock install a sculpture that, either in execution and subject or both, springs from an artist we call one of our own?
The latest example: The "Native Knowledge" sculpture installed at the Junction Bridge, near what's left of the Little Rock. Donated to the city by the "Sculpture at the River Market" non-profit, which has set itself up as the arbiter of public art in Little Rock, Denny Haskew's sculpture features three Indian faces emerging from stone slabs, each with a name: “Give of Yourself,” “Respect all that is Natural,” and “Observe Nature.”
A press release announcing the sculpture's installation in June said the sculpture was "a tribute to the Caddo, Osage, and Quapaw Native American Cultures of Arkansas."
That's funny, because the same sculpture was previously dedicated to the Barona elders, a California tribe, when it was installed in front of the Barona Resort and Casino in San Diego. I don't know who it was dedicated to in Durango, Colo., where it stands at the entrance to the Fort Lewis College — the Southern Ute, maybe? — or at the Marianne Butte Golf Course in Loveland, Colo. from whence all Arkansas sculpture comes. (An eagle theme would have been a good idea for a golf course, it seems to me.)
There are engravings on the backs of the stone said to symbolize the Caddo, Osage and Quapaw. They couldn't have been done in consultation with the tribes: The chief, who has a Caddoan design on his back, is wearing a Plains Indian feather headdress. Good grief.
Haskew is Potawatomi, which shouldn't exclude him from crafting art about other tribes or indeed anything, but didn't it bother him to say these sculptures are in tribute to Arkansas's tribes?
So, again, I ask. Is there no Arkansas sculptor or Caddo, Quapaw or Osage sculptor, or even a Tunican (depending on which archeologist you side with) who could have done a unique sculpture here? For $50,000 — the price quoted in one article — seems like you could.
“A Voice through the Viewfinder: Images of Arkansas’ Black Community by Ralph Armstrong”
Images by mid-century Little Rock photographer Ralph Armstrong.
As promised, here's a slideshow of some of the work that can be seen at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. Ralph Armstrong (1925-2006) made a career of taking photographs at African American events in Little Rock for 50 years, his entry in the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History tells us. Armstrong aspired to be a classical musician, but in 1946, after he auditioned for the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra in Chicago, he was denied a seat, probably because he was black. He then embarked on his photography career.
I got a quick look at the exhibit yesterday, in the temporary exhibit hall at the museum. Many of the people pictured and the date of the shots aren't known; the museum would I'm sure welcome a visit by long-time residents of Little Rock who may be able to help with identification.
“Outside the Pale: The Architecture of Fay Jones,” an exhibit of artifacts on loan from the Old State House Museum and the University of Arkansas, opens today at Laman Library and will run through Aug. 25.
Laman has a connection to the famed UA architect, who was an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright: He designed the gazebo in the library plaza in the early 1970s.
The exhibit takes its name from a book published by the Department of Arkansas Heritage and will be accompanied by an essay by Robert Adams Ivy, author of "Fay Jones: Architect." Ivy writes:
"Fay Jones architecture begins in order and ends in mystery. His role can perhaps best be understood as a mediator, a human consciousness that has arisen from the Arkansas soil and scoured the cosmos, then spoken through the voices of stone and wood, glass and steel. Art, philosophy, craft, and human aspiration coalesce in his masterworks, transformed from acts of will into harmonies: Jones lets space sing."
I'll post more pictures tomorrow of what looks like a great exhibit.
A new exhibition at the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History that explores the Vietnam War opens tonight with a reception from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Decorated pilot Hugh L. Mills will be the guest of honor, and will give a talk Friday morning at 11 a.m.
The exhibit, "Vietnam: America's Conflict," also honors the 600 Arkansans who died in the war.
Mills, author of "Low Level Hell," served two tours in Vietnam as an aero scout and cobra pilot. A flyer from the museum says he was shot down 16 times and wounded three times. He earned three Silver Stars, the Legion of
Merit, four Distinguished Flying Crosses and three Bronze Stars. Joining him at the reception tonight will be House Speaker Robert Moore and Attorney General Dustin McDaniel.
The J.W. Wiggins Native American Art Gallery in the UALR's Sequoyah National Research Center opens a new exhibit Friday by Robert Taylor, a self-taught artist of mixed Anglo-Indian heritage (Black Dutch, Blackfeet, Cherokee, Crow, Osage and Scottish, according to the Native Arts of America website). The 62-year-old artist works in a figurative, illustrative style; the work will be on view through Aug. 17.
The Sequoyah Center is in University Plaza, on the side of campus, Suite 500.
I got e-mail today announcing that tonight's Third Friday Argenta ArtWalk reception at Ketz Gallery (5-8 p.m.) will be its last. Ketz opened three years ago at 705 Main St. and has represented 20 local artists, the e-mail says. Tonight the gallery features Mary Ann Stafford's trees; the e-mail closes with:
So come take a look and have a glass of wine. You may find something to remember it by. Last day of sales is July 28th.
Gallery 26 is the place for art lovers to be tomorrow night when it opens an exhibit of drawings by Robert Bean and woodblock prints by Jill Storthz (Little Rock native gone Californian). A reception with live music is set for 7 to 10 p.m.
Bean, who describes himself as a narrative artist, is calling his collection of drawings "Fragile Moments." Storthz's linear abstract works read both as geometrical design and landscape. Their work will be up until Sept. 8.
StudioMain at 1423 S. Main is showing the documentary "EAMES: The Architect and the Painter," about the husband-and-wife design team of Charles and Ray Eames, tonight. Little Rock designer Harry Loucks will give an introductory talk at 7 p.m. The showing is in conjunction with the current exhibition of furniture by UALR Applied Design students.
Women artist known nationally and locally are at Greg Thompson Fine Art for the exhibition "Southern Women Artists." The show includes work by the late abstract artist Ida Kohlmeyer, Mississippi artist/writer Linda Burgess, mixed media artist Claudia DeMonte, Mississippi-born geometrical abstractionist Valerie Jaudon, Tennessee impressionist Denise Rose and Arkansas artists Sheila Cantrell, Sheila Cotton, Robyn Horn, Laura Raborn and Rebecca Thompson. A don't-miss show.
Claytime Pottery features the work of Ashley Morrison, photographer Aaron Gschwandegger will be at the Argenta branch of the Laman Library, and the students of Seis Puentes, an Hispanic outreach program, will show their work at the Thea Foundation. Latin music and refreshments at Thea make this a guaranteed happy outing.
It's all in downtown North Little Rock.
The Arkansas Arts Council has given Zeek Taylor, Eureka Springs' favorite painter of chimps and irises, its 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award. Taylor will receive the award, a glass sculpture by Riley Art Glass Studio in Hot Springs, in a ceremony in the fall.
Winning the Individual Artist Award was John Jeter, director of the Fort Smith Symphony.
Other 2012 winners: Jeff Baskin, Laman Library director, Arts Community Development Award; Christen Burke Pitts of North Little Rock and Clayton Scott of Fayetteville, Arts in Education Awards; TRUE Marketing of Jonesboro, Corporate Sponsorship of the Arts Award; gospel singer/songwriter Marty Phillips of Crossett, Folklife Award; Drs. Mack and Vern Ann Shotts, Patron Award; and retired ad man Jim Johnson, the Judges Special Recognition Award.
Jurors were chairman Michael Tidwell, Husny Dahlan, Lana Hallmark, Mike Malek, Clyde Milner and Bob Pest.
The Arkansas Arts Center has issued a call to artists for its 38th "Toys Designed by Artists exhibition," which opens in November. Deadline is Sept. 14. (I initially wrote the show is annual, but I have been corrected; it is every other year.)
The toy show is original to the Arts Center, inspired, a news release says, by Calder's circus mobiles, and is traditionally a great showcase of beautifully designed, sometimes whimsical, sometimes political stuffed, carved and welded things that twirl, roll on wheels and crank, etc. The show is open to all. (I initially wrote that it had been an invitational in the past, and it has (the 24th and 25th at least), but not for some time, apparently.) Artists may enter up to three works created since 2010.
Juror for the show is glass artist Tim Tate, co-founder of the Washington Glass School. His work is in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and The Mint Museum. (I think I got that right the first time!)
The Chronicle of Philanthropy has an article on South Carolina Gov. Gov. Nikki Haley's decision to kill all funding for the state's Arts Commission last week.
Her logic: You want art? Let the private sector pony up. From the article:
Ms. Haley eliminated a combined $9.5-million allocated for the arts agency and the South Carolina Sea Grants Consortium, which helps the state’s universities secure federal money for marine research. She said the state funding was redundant because the schools can seek grants on their own and the private sector can support culture projects.
The article does not say what Haley did not cut. That would be interesting to know.
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