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SWOP at ASI 

Argenta Art Night Friday.

click to enlarge AMONG THE DISPLAY: “Concerto in Sun.”
  • AMONG THE DISPLAY: “Concerto in Sun.”

The Arkansas Arts Council's 22nd annual “Small Works on Paper” show enjoys a high profile this year, hanging in the glass-walled entry to the Arkansas Studies Institute on President Clinton. Visible to strollers in the River Market district is an even, strong collection of photographs, drawings, watercolors and acrylics in an intimate format, no work larger than 24-by-24 inches.

There are standouts in the juried show, which features work by artists across the state. Terry Wright's “Burka,” a digital photograph, is a strong composition pairing sweeping fractal lines against a white background; it balances between abstraction and representation. Photographer Benjamin Krain, known for his striking streetscapes and use of color, is represented in “SWOP” by close-up and soft-focus portraits of dogs (and one tail) in four frames, using a through-the-viewfinder technique. A horse's profile, “Concerto in Sun” by Kimberly Boyd Vickery of Jonesboro, is a striking digital photograph and a purchase award winner.

The exhibit's one color linoleum cut is the purchase-award-winning “Neptune's Dilemma” by Russellville artist Neal Harrington. In it an axe has split a tether to a boat; the boat is burning and contains a body wrapped in a shroud. Maybe there's a reference to a specific Neptune myth here, or perhaps Neptune's dilemma is whether to quench the flames or not; at any rate, it's an interesting piece finely wrought. Temple Skelton Moore of Prairie Grove and Dolores Justus of Hot Springs display fine brushwork in their acrylic-on-paper entries; Justus' “Driving Rain,” of a distant town under a big dark sky, was also a purchase award winner. Sketches by Dominique Simmons (“David Quickly”) and Gary Simmons (“Lovin' the Moment”) show how seductive line can be. Betsy Brackin of West Memphis uses careful blocks of watercolor in her wide-angle piece “Caye Caulker, Belize.” 

Edwin Pinkston, professor emeritus from Louisiana Tech University School of Art, was the juror for this year's “SWOP.” The exhibit will remain at the ASI through Aug. 15 and open again Aug. 26 at the Delta Cultural Center in Helena.

The Arts Council is taking entries now for the 2010 exhibit; deadline is July 24. Suzanne Bloom, art professor at the University of Houston, will be juror. For more information, e-mail cheri@arkansasheritage.org or call 324-9767.

 

This Friday, July 17, is the monthly Argenta Artwalk at arts venues on and off Main Street in downtown North Little Rock. Sculptor Elena Petroukhina will exhibit sculpture, paintings and drawings at the Baker House Bed and Breakfast. Locally-grown food and watermelon margaritas will add to the festivity. Also check out Arkansas Art Gallery at 500 Main St. (now being run by V.L. Cox and featuring her work along with paintings by Kevin Kresse, Doug Gorrell, Jason Gammel, Sherrie Shepherd and Shara Baker); Argenta Studios at 401 Maple St. (Delita Martin); Greg Thompson Fine Art at 429 Main St. (Barry Thomas, George Dombek) and the Thea Foundation at 401 Main St. The event runs 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

 

Gallery 26 will hold a reception Saturday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. for Bill Hawes, who is exhibiting paintings and sculpture at the gallery, 2601 Kavanaugh.

 

River Market ArtSpace, which opened at the corner of Cumberland and Markham (then Clinton) in 1997, will be no more in a couple of weeks, owner Debra Wood has announced.

Wood bought the spacious gallery, featuring fine work in all media by Arkansas artists, from founder Susan Strauss seven years ago. She sought to get a reprieve from the owners of the building — Pressley and Jo Melton family — on her rising rent, but to no avail. Some of the artwork is being transferred to the retail gallery at the Arkansas Studies Institute. Some things left at the gallery will be on sale.

ArtSpace, thanks to its corner location and its status as one of the first enterprises in the rejuvenated area, served as a gateway to the River Market district. Jo Melton said there was no new tenant on the horizon; she said she'd hoped Wood would be able to stay.

For more Arkansas art news, go to arkansasartnotes.tumblr.com.

 

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