Adding dimension 

Volkert's boxed and mounted masterpieces at HAM.

click to enlarge JV AT HAM: Jim Volkert's work, like "George Bellows Erector," puts his copies of famous paintings into three-dimensional contraptions.
  • JV AT HAM: Jim Volkert's work, like "George Bellows Erector," puts his copies of famous paintings into three-dimensional contraptions.

Jim Volkert paints small copies of masterpieces and places them into various structures — boxing them up, or putting them in a framework with moving parts. The Historic Arkansas Museum's exhibit of his work ("The J.V. Double: Jorge Villegas and Jim Volkert") features several of these pieces, which work on two levels, as fine art — he could have a career in fakery, had he chosen to — and as conceptual work.

For example, in a piece paying tribute to the final 16 works of Van Gogh, Volkert has lined up 16 small figures — painters — in front of little easels on which 16 little canvases, each of them a Van Gogh, sit. In a nod to Crystal Bridges Museum of Fine Art, Volkert has also put copied details of paintings in wooden crates labeled on one side with the name of the painting — a detail from Peale's painting of George Washington, Asher B. Durand's "Kindred Spirits" and so forth. He's made his small Winslow Homer painting of men at sea into a sail. Many of his works are part of contraptions that crank, and he's managed to add craquelure to some of the paintings. (The Conway artist's construction skill no doubt contributes to his profession as exhibition developer; his resume includes consulting jobs at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation visitors center.)

Volkert's pairing with El Dorado artist Jorge Villegas, makes sense only in that they share initials. Villegas work consists of pencil drawings of women, some of them uncomfortably close to advertising artistry. With the wonderful exception of his oversized "Wenonah Fay No. 2" (colored pencil, 6 feet by 49 inches), these are drawings of pretty women with long eyelashes and Breck commercial hair. I'll add, however, that just as I was forming a critical thought about one picture, a child came up behind me and said, "That's beautiful." So it is.

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock's "Advancing Tradition: 20 Years of Printmaking at Flatbed Press" got a companion piece this week with work by women printmakers, including Delita Martin of Little Rock. "ROUX" (named for the mixture of flour and fat) features work by Rabea Ballin, Ann "Sole Sister" Johnson, Delita Martin and Lovie Olivia that explores the matrilineal nature of African American society. The show was curated by Danielle Burns for the Houston Museum of African American Culture; she and the artists will take part in a panel discussion at 1:40 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 23, in the Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall.

Also opening at UALR: "Thoughts from China," a show of figurative ceramics by James Tisdale influenced by his 2010 residency in Jingdezhen, China. Tisdale is the ceramic program coordinator at the Austin Museum of Art.

Four venues will stay open from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday for the monthly Argenta ArtWalk gallery stroll.

Matthew Castellano has combined historical photographs with drawings of street bikes and foreign stamps for his show "Tour de World," which he says pays homage to his grandfather, at Ketz Gallery, 705 Main St. in Argenta. New gallery artist Caren Garner will also be showing work.

Laman Library's Ar-genta branch, 506 Main St., will feature the pop/op collage work of Byron Werner, who moved to Little Rock from Hollywood after a 28-year career in motion pictures.

The Thea Foundation is putting its permanent collection on display, which is where you'll find "Blue Dog" artist George Rodrigue along with work by Henri Linton, V.L. Cox and the sculptors of the Light and Time Design Studio in Royal.

The exhibit of landscapes by Charles Harrington, "A Sense of Place," continues at Greg Thompson Fine Art, which will also show work by contemporary artists J.O. Buckley, Robert Rector and Robyn Horn.


Speaking of...

  • Renaissance man

    August 4, 2016
    For 35 years, object conservator and craftsman Andy Zawacki has helped keep the past present at the Historic Arkansas Museum. /more/
  • 'The House of Light'

    April 7, 2016
    The Preller Collection comes to the Historic Arkansas Museum. /more/
  • Maria, Jorge Villegas exhibition at Christ Church

    March 24, 2016
    El Dorado artists and educators Maria Botti Villegas and Jorge Villegas will show paintings and drawings that express their interpretations of their place in the universe at Christ Church starting April 1. /more/
  • 2nd Friday Art Night at HAM: 'A Diamond in the Rough'

    March 10, 2016
    The Historic Arkansas Museum will raise a glass — the vintage cocktail "Millionaire No. 1" — to toast 75 years of its history at its 2nd Friday Art Night reception, 5-8 p.m. March 11. "A Diamond in the Rough" will feature works from the permanent exhibition and information on the people who made the museum possible, from Louise Loughborough, who persuaded the legislature to preserve the remnant buildings of early Little Rock and create the Arkansas Territorial Restoration, to contemporary historian Parker Westbrook. There will be living history as well, with actors appearing as Loughborough, Gov. Bailey and Sen. Ed Dillon. The Delta Brass Combo will play, as well. /more/
  • 2nd Friday Art Night: Nog and new works

    December 11, 2015
    What is Christmas without eggs, cream and booze? It's not fun, that's what. The Historic Arkansas Museum knows that and tonight hosts the 11th annual Nog-off competition between lots of folks who think they nog best. HAM Director Bill Worthen puts his ancestral Nicholas Peay recipe up against the punchbowl secrets of Cache Restaurant, Loblolly Creamery,  John Selig and Lea Elenzweig, Stone's Throw Brewing, Heritage Grille, One Eleven at the Capital Hotel and Rock City Eats. /more/
  • Treasured boxes

    July 9, 2015
    By Stowe, as well as Popow eggs, Cook knives and more, at HAM. /more/
  • Norris, Krannichfeld, Whale Fire and beer: All at HAM

    February 12, 2015
    Friday night is 2FAN — 2nd Friday Art Night — and all fans of the monthly gallery walk will find paintings, watercolors, music, chocolate stout and a chance to win a box of Valentine sweets from Treatsie at the Historic Arkansas Museum. Which appeals more? Who cares? /more/
  • Nog-Off / Rachel Trusty paintings / stereoscopes: 2nd Friday at HAM

    December 12, 2014
    Eggnog and art are a great combination, one offered up tonight (Dec. 12) by the Historic Arkansas Museum, which is holding its 10th Ever Nog-Off competition, opening new exhibitions and hosting Kemistri, featuring Nicki Parrish, from 5-8 p.m. /more/
  • James Bonner watercolor giclee sale benefits HAM

    November 20, 2014
    The Historic Arkansas Museum is selling giclees of a watercolor by James M. Bonner, "December Snow," to raise money for its unique living history program. /more/
  • 40 years of the Arkansas Times, plus tacos with salsa (music): How can you lose?

    September 12, 2014
    Fun for the weekend: An exhibit on 40 years of the Arkansas Times opens at the Historic Arkansas Museum and you can see it and enjoy other downtown arts happenings from 5-8 p.m. Friday. Saturday, its' the 2nd Latino Food and Music Festival, with lots of home-made food and salsa and mariachi music in downtown Argenta. /more/
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