Lemony and sweet 

Originals! at the Cox Center

'APPLES': By Sherna Cockrill.
  • 'APPLES': By Sherna Cockrill.
The annual “Originals!” exhibit of art made by Arkansas women has made a quiet appearance in the Cox Creative Center. The pieces are subdued and soft, womanly. Some of these works could have been made by men, in which case a critic might describe them as “otherworldly.” But most focus on feminine subjects — fruit, children, dark interiors, a cat — and are painted, sewn, shot, molded in a palette and technique that puts design over muscle. The pottery steals the show. It’s monumental, abstract and heavy. Barbara Satterfield’s “Vine Vase Series No. 3” is a swollen earthenware container open on one side near the top, where a pink-brown exterior meets an apple green lip. Beverly Norton Walker’s “Shoshun Kame-Shipui Series” vessel approximates a flattened and skewed teapot. Its matte sides are scored and glazed in pale greens and blues. Photographer Maxine Payne pushes the envelope a bit here, with two gelatin silver prints of little children. In one, an unfocused circle pushes the central figure, a girl in a gown, to the front; in another, the child is unfocused, genitalia blurred, flying off from focused shrubbery in the background. Seven of the 32 pieces in the exhibit are still lifes with fruit. An eighth painting is of a fruit stand. The choice of fruit may be less about womb symbols and more a reflection of how women work with what’s available to them when they have the time. At any rate, some of them are lovely, but one of them is better than lovely, and that is Sherna Cockrill’s “Apples.” Her apples are lined on an afternoon windowsill, in a nicely cockeyed composition, and show us their shadowed sides, their greens and reds and yellows a shift, but not a shake, away from the earth tones of the window and room. One wishes Jackie Fish would have continued the pointillist style she took to her pears and peaches in the background, rather than just washing in color; it would have been riskier to try to achieve depth that way. Suzanne Weaver, associate curator of Contemporary Art for the Dallas Museum of Art, was juror. The show remains up through July 2 in the Showcase Arkansas Gallery, second floor of the Cox Center, at 120 Commerce St. Psychedelic art is having a flashback at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, where an exhibit of commercial lithographs produced for rock and roll artists of the 1960s has come home to the Fine Arts Center. “Feelin’ Groovy,” 92 posters and handbills donated to the university by Robert Sherman in 1986, was first curated for a show at UALR in 1989. At the end of its run, then-UALR curator Shannon Dillard Mitchell successfully proposed to Exhibits USA that UALR’s collection be taken on the road, which it has for the past five years. The psychedelic style, expressed in poster art and album covers, may be the only genre of art inspired by the altered vision of drug-induced state. Its circular composition and bright and busy colors restored the poster to its earlier status as fine art. The show runs through July. Gallery 26 has moved from 2611 Kavanaugh to 2601 Kavanaugh, space once occupied by bikeseller.com. The first show in the new space is an exhibit of paintings by Katherine Strause titled “Magnetic Hill,” through July 19.



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