Thursday, March 28, 2019

Pick of the crop

Juror’s idea of ‘Best of the Best’
By Alec Clayton
Published in the Weekly Volcano, March 24, 2019
"Full Intersection With the Here and Now," encaustic by Teri Bevelacqua, courtesy the artist
by definition, the Juror’s Invitational at South Puget Sound Community College should be an exhibition of the best of the best. Featured are works from the award-winning artists from the 2018 Southwest Washington Juried Exhibition, selected by juror Asia Tail. Absolutely, she did choose some outstanding artists, but she also picked a few whose work, while admirable, is not so stellar as to be considered the cherry on top of the sundae.
Included in the show are: Susan Aurand, Teri Bevelacqua, Judith Hochman, Lisa Kinoshita, Carrie Larson, Spencer McDowell, Patsy Surh O’Connell, Vladimir Shakov, Jason Sobottka, and Chris Wooten.

“Adventures Through the Anthropocene,” painting by Jason Sobottka, photo by Alec Clayton
Wooten’s fairy-like wire sculptures of dancing women are the first thing to greet the viewer upon entering the gallery, and these jewels are a delight to behold. Standing in a group on sculpture stands are seven small figures of women in acrobatic positions made of twisted wire, glass and beads. They are sparkling and joyful. Hanging above them is an almost life-size figure of another dancing women, this one suspended upside-down from the ceiling and fairly dripping with smaller figures that hang from her arms. The entire configuration is a wonderland of cavorting Tinkerbells that dazzles by the light of its glitter.

Among the most striking works in the show are a suite of nine encaustic and mixed-media paintings by Bevelacqua. In these paintings, Bevelacqua capitalizes on the ability to create deep transparencies with encaustic to creating stunning, multi-layered images of hell on earth — urban scenes and scenes of war with drawing and collage elements such as dollar bills, a United States flag, city buildings and a statue of a woman borrowed from classical art. Viewers should take the time to take in first the overall grouping, and then each individual painting, and search out the many images and think about how they reflect the world we live in today. 
Kinoshita’s “Dumb Love” is a funny and striking piece of found art. It is the shiny chrome bumper of a Hummer. Written on the wall above it in pink script is the word “Dumb.” Such a simple statement so blatantly presented. Kinoshita uses found and manipulated objects to comment on society and on history and the natural world, often with quirky humor. I take this piece to be a commentary on machismo.
Among the most striking works in the show are Hochman’s four mixed-media drawings of cold-black shapes that look like charcoal or ink prints taken from lace doilies. I do not know what the specific media is; it was listed only as mixed, but the imagery is strong and gritty, and the possible interpretations are many — from pure abstract forms with no outside reference to images of smoke and fire — delicate and precious personal items such as hand-crafted doilies reduced to ash, a metaphor for loss.
Highly impressive are O’Connell’s four ink with tea-finish drawings of leaves and ducks and something in one that looks like eggs sparkling with electrical current. These drawings are on scrolls that are approximately six feet tall. The drawing is precise, delicate and smooth; the imagery conveys a deep love of nature.
Also included are a number of funny and enticing little paintings from Sobottka’s “Adventures Through the Anthropocene” series that includes strange creatures and cartoon figures and bombastic color and form.
2019 Juror’s Invitational, noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, through April 19, South Puget Sound Community College, Kenneth J Minnaert Center for the Arts Gallery, 2011 Mottman Rd. SW. Olympia,

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