Wednesday, May 11, 2005

"First Brush of Spring" - Hoosier Salon - May 11, 2005 - 3 stars

Plein air works from the 2005 New Harmony Paint-Out are exhibited in this show. A healthy amount of stereotyped landscape works, which have pigeonholed this organization, can be found side-by-side with truly inspired landscape gems at this annual event. On the inspired end of the spectrum is Ray Hassard's pastel, "Woodland Patriarch." It's a cropped view upwards into a gnarly-branched tree, black and brown against a shadowed green forest dappled in bits of light blue daylight. It defies the pastoral stereotype of many of its counterparts by expressing the natural world reflectively. "Morning Light," an 8-by-10-inch oil on panel by Pamela Turnbow, is executed with heavy knifed gestures over a hot pink wash, so all the subtleties of light and shadow pop effectively with simple scratch marks or unpainted spots. Beth A. Forst's "Barn on the Secret Pond" is another hit among a collection of mostly average artworks. An oil on panel with lightly applied (wash-like) oils, the usual angle of viewing a distant red barn uphill through trees (it feels sneaky) makes this work quite commendable. Through May 28, 2005; 317- 253-5340, -Mary Lee Pappas

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Rocco Valadez: "Expecting" - Galerie Penumbra - May 4, 2005 - 3 1/2 stars

This third exhibition mounted by GP solidifies the abstract expressionistic viewpoint that defines the gallery's aesthetic. The consistency, quality and representation of new, but accomplished local artists are coups local galleries in their infancy generally have been unable to accomplish. No tripping over trial and error here as there is a clear sense of artistic vision and purpose. Valadez, an art, painting and photography teacher at Lawrence Central, created his "Expecting" series as a response to the anticipation of parenthood. A multitude of pointed emotional contemplations in response to impending parenthood are acted out in freeform scapes of deep atmospheric colors that portray a great sense of mood. They are calm, optimistic, with smooth, lightly washed applications of deep, rich acrylic paints. There is no gesture apparent, just effect. "Cumbrous," a 48-by 60-inch painting, for example, is sublime with sophisticated manipulations of color (deep reds barely seeping through deep teal-green) and an occasional, perfectly positioned scratched line used to harmonize the compositional balance. To call these works simple would be grossly inaccurate. Through May 18, 2005; 317-508-8043. -Mary Lee Pappas