Thursday, September 23, 2010

Disorienting space

8th Annual Juried Exhibition at Tacoma Community College

Published in the Weekly Volcano, Sept. 23, 2010
Pictured: "Schuster Parkway," mixed-media painting by Marsha Glaziere

There is a quiet and dignified exhibition of photographs in the small entryway of The Gallery  at Tacoma Community College. The photographs are pretty traditional not very exciting, but they are nicely done. One in particular, "Lake Washington Bridge" by Jim Oliver, does wonderful things with water and shadows. These photos are the first things you see when entering the 8th Annual Juried Exhibition at Tacoma Community College.

And then you step into the main gallery and glance to the left and become suddenly disoriented because the paintings you see there are rough, with harsh angles, jarring colors and skewed perspectives that can easily induce vertigo. The most disorienting of all, and my pick for best in show is Marsha Glaziere’s large acrylic and mixed-media painting "Schuster Parkway". It is a view of the road as seen from a worm’s-eye view at a curve and looking up at the underside of an overpass. Everything is tilted to the right. The colors are dull and chalky and the painting is harshly expressionistic. This painting fairly leaps off the canvas and grabs you by the throat.

Next to Glaziere’s painting is an expressionistic nude by David Roholt called "On Her Side, On Her Knees" that is equally jarring. The standing figure is subsumed into an energetic field of primary colors with thick, slashing paint application. Roholt does a good job of integrating the figure into the background, but even though it is an attention grabber it doesn’t wear well over time. It needs some restful areas to play off against the agitated forms.

Frank Dippolito has four pieces in the show, all of which are pretty impressive. "Demente Toro" is fascinating in its technique. It is a swirling abstract pattern made of ribbons of paper mounted edgewise on canvas. His "Still Life", assemblge and collage, is solid in design and uses nice contrasts of dark and light and large and small shapes.

I like Dorothy McCuistion’s little linoleum cut and watercolor titled "Cut. "It’s a drawing of a scissor in white line on black with a highly dramatic, solid black shadow.

The great duo of Ric Hall & Ron Schmitt is represented with a pastel called "Theoretical Comparison". After years of viewing their work I am continually amazed that they can work collaboratively the way they do, drawing in tandem almost as if their four hands belong to one person. This drawing is dark and cartoonish, as their works always are, both ominous and funny, and full of surprises.

Another truly amazing painting is Alain Clerc’s "Cuban Breeze". It is so simple that it could easily be dismissed at a first glance. It’s a simple chalky blue sky with chalky white clouds painted over a geometric linear pattern that breaks the space into jagged plains. The longer I looked at it the more it grew on me.

Other paintings of note are Don Don Haggerty’s "Earth Dance" and Sarah Waldo’s "Taos". There are very few sculptures in the show. The most enjoyable of these is Joe Batt's comical "Plow."

 [Tacoma Community College, 8th Annual Juried Art Exhibition, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, through Oct. 15, Building 5A, entrance off South 12th Street between Pearl and Mildred, Tacoma.]

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