Friday, September 26, 2014

Juried Local Art Exhibition at TCC

Published in the Weekly Volcano, Sept. 25, 2014
"Patty Cake" stoneware sculpture by Joe Batt
Olympia painter Barlow Palminteri tops the list of Juror’s Choice Award winners in the 12th Annual Juried Local Art Exhibition at Tacoma Community College with his painting “Trailblazer Landscape.” Palminteri has made a big splash in the area art scene with his realistic interior scenes (part Phillip Pearlstein and part French impressionism), and now he branches into new territory with colorful landscapes. This is a joyful painting. It is a garden scene with an odd perspective seen from above but too close-up to be a bird’s eye view, painted with large strokes of vibrant color laid down in an almost pointillist manner.

The gallery is loaded with outstanding paintings, sculptures and photographs from what constitutes a who’s who of regional artists — many familiar names here.

Among the photographs is a nice picture of a fallen tree by Sharon Styler called “Reclining Tree II.” The viewpoint makes the dead tree look like a massive sculpture of a reclining figure. Thus the title, if I’m reading it right.

“The Poet’s Instrument” painting by Nathan Barnes
Nathan Barnes’ “The Poet’s Instrument” is without a doubt the most startling image in the show. It is an image of overlapping faces with other body parts and with a line of poetry printed on a ribbon of paper that winds in and out of the face: “so the water took the pure in hand and laid them gently on the land.” It is painted on what appears to be layers of canvas board cut to shape and a few inches in depth. This one should have been a juror’s choice winner.

Also startling are two mixed media sculptures by David Murdach, both elaborate steam punk configurations of imaginative objects. One is a fantasy chandelier mounted above what looks like a basket made of cane. The other is a sleek and shiny futuristic wheeled machine with a rocket ship like one of those seen in 1950s sci-fi movies.

Joe Batt’s “Patty Cake” is a stoneware sculpture of two babies with big heads looking like little old man. It’s a funny depiction of kids playing patty cake with something in their hands. (I’m not going to divulge what they’re holding. OK, the photo gives it away.)

Jeffree Stewart’s “Northwest Landscape” is a small painting with loose, expressive brush strokes not so much looking like trees and rocks as moving energy that creates the feel of walking among trees and rocks. There’s something of Jackson Pollock’s “Blue Poles” in this, as well as a bit of Mark Toby.

There are two semi-abstract paintings by William Turner that are colorful with a rough, expressionistic application of paint in flat areas of color. Barely recognizable among the abstract shapes are figures and still life objects.

Local favorites Ric Hall and Ron Schmitts are represented by three of their modernist, post-German-expressionist-surrealistic pastels created in collaboration. They are darkly humorous and take a penetrating look at contemporary social and political issues such as gay marriage, the kinds of meaningless debates that clog the airwaves, and more personal issues the likes of empty nest syndrome.

All-in-all, this is an outstanding show with quite a variety of local talent on display.

"12th Annual Juried Local Art Exhibition," noon to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, through Oct. 24, Building 5A, entrance off South 12th Street between Pearl and Mildred, Tacoma, visitor parking in Lot G.

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