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The star attraction of John’s exhibit is a collection of hundreds of headless bolts. And that’s exactly what they are: inch and a half screws a quarter inch thick who clearly at one point in time had some kind of a head on them. Whether they be slotted for a screwdriver or hexagonally crowned like a ratchet bolt, the heads themselves are all missing. Some of the bolts are newer shiny unblemished metallic silver-threaded cylinders, while others are clearly much older and encrusted in time. It is here the most simplistic of objects becomes a focal point of what certainly would be a deeply philosophical discussion about art and its meaning. Strangely, all of these bolts come from the same area. John picks these up on his way on to the University of Louisville’s campus from where he parks his car at Warnock and Floyd. He finds them on his walk, picks them up, and they become part of a collection. John has no real idea as to where they come from, nor does he care. The finite logic here being, John picks them up as he runs across them and always more appear. After realizing this, he began to actually search a little harder on his daily walk to make sure he doesn’t miss any. John explained to me that the connection between himself and the headless bolt is purely one of coexistence, “I find them, pick them up, and yet more appear.” In doing so, John Begley has accomplished something that not only has deep artistic merit, but also raises a level of consciousness that reaches beyond the white walls and plexiglass cases that make
up the gallery room. “When does the compulsive become the obsessive?”, John wryly smiles as he poses the question. “I have simply given meaning to an otherwise meaningless object.” , and from here a semblance of art is born. While the casual viewer may simply walk upstairs, and perhaps become befuddled at this particular exhibit, there will be some who understand the artistic value that John has placed on these headless objects and that, even if it only lasts a little while, is deeply rich in artistic appreciation. These are not pieces that would be readily snatched up by collectors for home exhibit (and perhaps their meaning would be lost if they were), nor do you need a MFA to appreciate the beauty in such simplicity. Knowing this from the onset, John Begley still invites us to simply look at things a little bit differently. From this point, local art lovers at least have been given the tools that they need to open their eyes and understand what a vastly deep talent pool this city has to offer its visual arts community. At the end of the day, there is possibly none better than one of the city’s long term champions of local art, (John’s personal collection is as enormous as it is eclectic with much of it being from Louisville artists) as well as one of its most unsung heroes as gallery director and curator to pose the question “What if?”. For those who would dismiss this installation as “There’s nothing going on here”, I would remind them of one thing: it’s John Begley we’re talking about. Remember that. 12
AND PART OF MAY, TOO!
APRIL 23RDMAY 15th AT SPOT 5 GALLERY
ARTS Review "Keeping Art Local”
FEATURING LOUISVILLE CARTOONISTS AND THEIR WORKS! WITH A SPECIAL SHOW AT SKULL ALLEY DURING THE SECOND STORY MAN/ ADVENTURE CONCERT APRIL 16TH LOUISVILLE CARTOONISTS‛ SOCIETY
The Louisville Cartoonist Society is having a show open at Skull Alley on April 16th. It’s in conjunction with the Second Story Man, The Shondes, Laura Borealis and Adventure show. http:// www.skullalley.net/ There will also be an exhibition at the Spot 5 gallery starting April 23rd. For more information, please visit: http://tednathanson.wordpress.com/ louisville-cartoonist-society/ Flier: Rene Blansette
“Dog 12” - Douglas Miller
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“Kidnapped” - Vian Sora
Phoenix Rising Igniting beauty from pain... Iraqi artist finds hope and inspiration in new home of Louisville says “Louisville feels like home more than any other country other than my own.” Having lived in Istanbul, Dubai, and Baghdad the solace she feels in Louisville is evident in her new work. However serene the new paintings are she says “I like the conflict of my older work. But it is something that I will always have. In my memories and experiences, it stays with me.”
by ERICA LAWSON Haunted by the tainted past of her rich cultural history and visualizing a more peaceful life, Vian Sora’s show “In Between Two Worlds” reflects the merging of her love for heritage with the love of her new path. An internationally shown artist, Sora’s solo show at The Green Building opening April 1st is a gift to Louisville’s art scene.
The conflict and sadness for the destruction of her home and family are central themes to her earlier paintings. Primarily in abstract expressionist style, Sora slowly introduced figures into her work, along with her signature engravings, which have all but disappeared in her latest masterpieces. The show will feature pieces of all her styles, which illuminates the progress and change she has experienced in life and in art.
The show’s title is as much reflective of Sora’s art as it is her life as an Iraqi artist living in America. Making the city her home for six months, she 2
Large scale, abstract sculptural pieces hang alongside his two-dimensional assemblage paintings. The palette is bright, predominately blues, with pinks, yellows and white and of course the transparency of bubble-wrap, which covers the surface of the majority of his work. Using a variety of materials to build these paintings and then finishing them with an acrylic resin or some other mysterious material has been a process that Keith hopes to spend even more time exploring. He tells me that he usually has several pieces in various stages of completion going at one time and that it might take months before he revisits a piece. “Sometimes I won’t work on a piece for months before taking it back out to contemplate what else it needs.” His interest is in looking at them and working with the materials to create a pleasing composition that demonstrates “evidence of uncontrollable and unforgiving energy,” as pointed out in the description of the show opening. As I walked through the space, he explains that he is “influenced by natural forces such as storms and hurricanes” and that the title of his show refers more to the freedom to alter any given element of a piece than anything else. I found this particular point to be significant in that nature
has this same ability to change that with which it comes into contact, just as he does when using a heat gun to melt and / or alter the surface of whatever material he is working with. Or, for example, when he decided to literally saw one piece in half after it was completed – nothing precious. Only then, was it actually complete, or is it? All of the work in this show is about the construction itself. Every aspect of the building process is there for the viewer to digest, all the way down to the exposed drywall screw heads that he considers to be somewhat of a trademark. The tactile aspects are undoubtedly strong and one has a difficult time not reaching out to pop the protruding bubbles of the plastic wrap. Apparently, this aspect is one that he has become very familiar with as the temptation to do just that has been expressed on a regular basis by those viewing the work. However, the tactile temptation of the bubble-wrap is second only to the warped and melted foam covered in impasto applications of paint. This too begs to be touched. Curiosity stemming from our sense of touch is surely tempted with these pieces. And although it is not unusual to have a desire to touch a piece of artwork, after all this is a common attribute of many great painters and artists in general, these pieces tempt in their 11
unique combination of materials and finish – we aren’t sure how that would feel. This aspect alone is worth seeing. For more information on Keith Linton and his work, visit his website at www.keithlinton.com. The “Nothing Precious” show is scheduled to run through Friday, April 2nd, with a closing reception on April 1st at 6:00p.m.
“Chaparral” - Keith Linton
Louisville Arts Review Cameron Deeb
- editor and writer
- artist and writer
- writer and traveler
Margaret Spivey - artist and writer cassandra lewis - layout and design
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Louisville Visual Arts Association By Cameron Deeb Louisville has a rich history of art, and has in one local institution a very rich history of helping to cultivate the next generation of artists and art lovers through the Children’s Fine Art Classes offered through the Louisville Visual Art Association. Founded in 1925, the Children’s Fine Art Classes (CFAC) has offered classes to children and students grades 1-12 in five counties surrounding Louisville. Over 750 students are challenged and encouraged to nurture their creative side, and for middle and high school students, compete in an art show that opens on April 15th at the Louisville Visual Art Association at the corner of River Road and Zorn Avenue.Area elementary students have their work on display May 9-27th at the same location. The focus and mission of the program is, “to provide intensive, in-depth art experiences for talented and motivated elementary, middle, and high school art students. The program offers concentrated studies in two-dimensional art that include studio practices in drawing and painting; art history; critiquing skills; and aesthetics.” Students are hand selected by art teachers throughout the school system, and are enrolled in the CFAC program, which has small class sizes of 10-15 students for two hours a week over the course of ten weeks. Students that graduate through the program boast a 75% chance to receive tuition aid in Art Studies programs during secondary and undergraduate education.
When discussing her diversity of style in this show she recognizes her critics that say she needs to work on one theme and stick with it. But she asserts that she does, and when she is done with that theme she moves on. Intentionally cultivating fluidity in her work, she avoided formal art training in Iraq. Having grown up around artists, her father a gallery owner, her mother’s family owning the largest art auction in Baghdad, she recognized the rigidity of the artists’ styles that occurred after training at the art academy. Desiring to maintain a unique and fluid style, Sora’s work maintains the heritage she cherishes but in different, changing ways. Sora’s heritage is a dominant theme throughout her paintings. Her earlier works “Pray” and “Amaranthine City” both feature engraved symbols used in Middle Eastern jewelry and architectural shapes signature to the region. Both pieces reflect experiences she had there. Using thickened paint, almost plaster like, Sora uses a palette knife to carve shapes and symbols for added texture and cultural significance.
Using her to art to work through the torrid moments of her life, “Kidnapped” is also a piece that reveals painful times. Although she was not in Iraq at the time of her uncle’s kidnapping and murder, this piece is how she envisioned the traumatic event that disrupted her family to the point of relocating entirely to Dubai. The dark, haunting figures breath violence. The paint strokes whirling in a way that initiates the vision of moments that happens so fast, yet seem to stand still in time. Introducing figures, primarily women and some horses into her work, they continue to highlight her cultural inspirations. In “Fertility” the fluid greens and blues are marked with two horses figures, one in mid neigh. Drawing on
A yet to be named piece, also highlights the growth of detailed elements. Again utilizing blues and greens, a woman is centered in this piece, holding a swaddled baby with a thin veil over her face and a flowing veil from her head, shielding her nude body. Sora recognizes the cultural taboo of this piece and she says that is partial to her motivation. The women that have become central to her work are symbolic of the sacredness of all humans, not just women, and that should be recognized as such. A prolific painter, her vast amount of work has many colors, shapes “Between Two Worlds” - Vian Sora
“Amaranthine City” is a pivotal piece to Sora’s cultural references. The center of the piece consists of subdued blues and greens with a hint of bright yellows reaching around the city walls of Baghdad. The beautiful and warm rending is surrounded by an impeding darkness. Thick black of ash and smoldering reds and oranges seek to burn down Sora’s idealized home of Baghdad. Obviously interpreting the memories she has of a home she loved and a home lost, this piece is full of beauty and sadness. 10
the cultural importance of horses in the Middle East, they hint at the beginning of more detailed renderings in Sora’s work.
John Begleys "Nothing New" Is Anything But Unimaginative by tim faulkner
“Words of Beauty” - Vian Sora
and progressing central themes. But her most recent paintings are more detailed and colorful than her earlier works. Smoother in texture, the stories told seem to come from a place of more serene reflection than therapeutic rendering.
and hints of yellow. The left side has an oak tree with the autumn colors and reds and oranges. The centered tree of life bridges the two worlds together, symbolic of the love and hope that bridges her two worlds.
The first painting Sora finished in Louisville is “In the Garden of Eden”. A colorful and romantic piece, Sora says she wanted to use every color. Even though there is a rainbow palette, the colors are not overwhelming. But the detail in the paining is unlike any of her previous painting. Without hint of abstraction, this work is the gatekeeper to a new style. Inspired after a run through Cherokee Park, the piece depicts a lakeside scene, three women positioned around the water, surrounded by trees, plants and a small black cat peering from between the leaves. The right side of the painting has her traditional greens and blues with palm trees
Bringing together the past of her culture and family, and the hope and optimism of her new life, Vian Sora’s work is both an aesthetic indulgence and one of emotional turmoil and uplift. Sora’s work can be viewed at the Green Building through May. Vian Sora www.viansora.com The Green Building 732 East Market Street Louisville, KY 40202 www.thegreenbuilding.com 4
The curious title of John Begley’s new show which opened April 2nd at Zephyr is “Nothing New”. At first this might seem like a rather blasé title from one of the city’s most recognizable names in art; John Begley is not only a long standing member of Zephyr gallery, he is also the gallery director for the Hite Institute at the University of Louisville (a position which was created for him specifically), and has been since 1975, as well as having many notable accomplishments to back up a very impressive resume. Among other grants and awards he received the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Fellowship in 1978 and has been named to Who’s Who in American Art.Indeed, many long time art lovers in Louisville will probably immediately recognize a particular familiarity with certain pieces which have in fact been cannibalized in shows from years past. The use of a video screen with a hidden camera so that viewers walking up the stairs view themselves going to the exhibit, and in fact the “door” which was used last year, have all found specific places in John’s current show. However, with a little thought and a certain amount of imagination, the viewer is actually treated to what is certainly one of the better installation exhibits in the city. continued on page 12
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visiting the Mellwood arts center in October. Her eye for what works together is obviously in tune with a vision that has developed over time, but began with her entering an art gallery one afternoon and finding inspiration hanging from the walls. The idea that collecting art is restricted to only a certain portion of the population, or that it is not something for everyone, is completely dispelled when considering Linda and the fantastic pieces she enjoys in her Jeffersonville, Indiana home. Her collection and the joy she gets from building it as well as the inspiration she takes from the work, is a model any one of us could follow.
Materialize By Margaret Spivey Foam, bubble-wrap, wood, string, aluminum, paper, paint, a hose, and a heat gun, on the surface this list might seem more akin to a visit to the local home improvement store. However, this particular materials list comes not from some renovation project but from the twenty-six, two and three-dimensional works currently on display at ART227 by local artist Keith Linton. His show, entitled “Nothing Precious” is an extension of an idea that began while in graduate school after a visit from Jerry Saltz, well known critic for New York Magazine. A suggestion, which encouraged Keith to explore contemporary items in his work, led to his experimentation with a wide variety of materials, methods and manipulations of the process. The result is a diverse body of work, varied as the pieces themselves. “Catalyst” - Keith Linton
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The discovery of Hatfield’s unique style and her admiration for the images he creates has been a valuable source of inspiration in her own artistic development. “His work inspires me both as an artist and a collector.” This fact becomes more poignant with her second Art Snake purchase, “Hero” a 13x 18 inch oil depicting a solitary abstracted figure centered on a predominately green canvas wearing a medal around its neck. “He (Hatfield) is kind of like my hero. After I started collecting his work, I would run into him at the old Hawley-Cooke on Bardstown road where he would always be looking through art magazines. I just thought that was so cool.” Her Hatfield collection continued with the purchase of her largest piece, “Girl with the Phony Name.” This 21x 26 inch oil depicting a wonderful gray and white, twofaced, abstracted woman on a layered ground of black and purple is unmistakably Art Snake. Her affinity for these paintings and the others she has managed to obtain has led her to investigating and collecting other work from artists around the country. All of the pieces in her collection have a whimsical atmosphere to them, just as the work she herself creates. One of her more recent additions comes from Ed Goss, a self-taught artist out of New Mexico. Painting in
a Basquiat manner, his mixed media pieces on found panels of distressed wood include the figures, numbers and words she is attracted to and has led to two purchases of his work. Both are large and measure 40x 30 inch and work very nicely with the Hatfield pieces. When asked what specifically draws her to the pieces in her collection, her response is “I love when there is writing and numbers in paintings, and etching or scratching to the surface. I also really love mixed media pieces that include all of these things and more. I’m not attracted to realism, that’s what cameras are for.” None of the pieces in her collection or in the mass of work she creates, has
any connection to the traditional, everything is abstracted in some form. This in itself is boding well for her creation of a collection that stands uniquely as a body of work not often found all together. Recently, she has begun adding pieces from David Warmenhoven an artist from Pentwater Michigan. His mixed media pieces feature elongated figures, often astronauts, that stretch across the orientation of the panel he paints. These strange stretched figures and the palette used, build a series of lines that create a distinctive cohesiveness with the rest of her collection. Soon, she hopes to add pieces from Dan Casado an Argentinean artist scheduled to be
“Dog 24” - Douglas Miller
Renaissance through Materials via Interpretations By Cameron Deeb A modern affection of all things olden is that times were simpler. Things were easier. Without the hub-bub of life and technology, social networking sites, email – voicemail – texting, it’s a common assumption that folks were happier, wiser and less distracted. The differences seemingly between now and say, 1515, is that so much of the world was still bathed in mystery. Many things were known that have since been forgotten, and other mysteries had not yet been dreamed. Society it was assumed was the top of the food chain. Without motorized vehicles, the world was most certainly a quieter
place; a place where Albrecht Dürer often resides. Was it possible that, to pause among nature; that seeking solace was easier? Was it closer? Douglas Miller takes us closer, to objects and animals that we have seen numerous times. Just never through this distinct of a lens. “There is a subtle humor in creating a huge bug. It’s both fascinating and boring, and I think Albrecht Durer would appreciate it. To those who have tired of representational drawing and conventional subjects, I want to shake it up so I don’t get bored either.” From his artist statement, Miller says, “I am interested in the frail line that lies between implication and the explicit. Through an intuitive process of accumulating lines, digressions in narratives, and often abandoning subjects I look for the unreasonable within traditional modes of 5
drawing.” So much of Miller’s work is detailed around the subject, with little in the way of backgrounds. This works well with his pieces because it draws the eye to the details therein. How often have we truly looked at the details on the wings of a Goliath Beetle; Or the eyes of a Greyhound? Millers works assume that we are already there, sitting and staring with infinite detail. “Hopefully the viewer walks the tightrope between the explicit and the implicit. I often want them to teeter on the edge. My work requires active participation and varied interpretations.” Specimens & scientific drawings were a fashionable and modest means of self employment. Many artists had steady work creating art, illustrations and original works for benefactors who also had other interests. They were the ones paying for the travels and time spent to create the sketches used in the final masterpieces. “I enjoy a type of reverse engineering mindset when drawing these specimens. I have to take a fresh look at the animals or insects that I am working with so that the awe and magic returns to the images; so many of the creatures have been seen before in biological illustrations and seemingly ‘understood’ through science that I have to work backwards in a sense to get to that place.”
From Assimilation to Confiscation
by Terry Tapp
“A dog stand and stares into what we cannot see” - Douglas Miller
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“I Miss You Albrecht” - Douglas Miller
If the World seemed smaller then, it was only because of the lenses in which the observer was peering through. The world has always been a big place, now; it’s just more hyper-connected. “You can Google any picture you want now. Seeing things that weren’t possible before. I’d like to get back to the interesting and ambiguous areas of images where it might look like a foreign little alien sitting before you.” 6
Years ago the musical group, Negativland, hosted an arts review radio program discussing art featured in “Surreal Homes.” The art featured in “Surreal Homes” was composed of items found in the home or office. Wallpaper, pens, paper clips, carpeting, appliances; all altered by certain processes or by particular methods with techniques so that the works produced simultaneously belonged to the domestic environment and were alien to it. Quincy Owens work would fit well in “Surreal Homes.” Much of his work appears to attributes and designs from the interior environment and reassembles these into beautiful works of art. Many of the paintings featured previously at Tim Faulkners Gallery employed designs from wallpaper overlaid to form a vibrant, painted tapestry. In this new body of work, notes, letters and memos provide the background to a linework
which suggests cryptic designs, sometimes floral patterning. And Owen’s throws in splashes of primary color to the linework to further enhance the feeling of design. As an added surprise, Owens also provided sculptures for this exhibit. The sculptures are found objects, usually two or more joined together, coated with a clay and polymer mix created by Owens. This mix gives the works a blackish-brown color akin to microcrystalline wax and it serves to unify the elements involved. The coating also helps the viewer to see the objects as dissociated from their usually functions and connotations which fits well with Quincy’s general aesthetic. There are also several examples of Quincy’s larger paintings that display his masterful handling of broadbrush abstraction. Owens couples this approach with stenciling to produce balanced, visually intriguing works.
“From Assimilation to Confiscation,” the newest installation of Quincy Owens annual exhibit in Louisville is showing at the Tim Faulkner Gallery through the month of April.
“Black Rock Sculpture No. 4” - Quincy Owens
Louisville Arts Review keeping art local www.louisvilleartsreview.blogspot.comm paintings, but she had also discovered a new source of inspiration for her own work. She describes that day with a fresh excitement. “When I went into that gallery and saw his work
Collecting Inspiration BY Margaret Spivey
hanging everywhere, I was hooked immediately!” Her first purchase, a 24”x 24” titled “The Boat” – originally designed as cover art for Robert Clinton’s book Taking Eden: Poems, is still one of her favorites, although with so many to choose from, a favorite is difficult to name.
Fourteen years ago, local artist Linda Akers casually walked into what was then Swanson Cralle Gallery on Bardstown road. By the time she left, not only had she began what has become a wonderful collection of Rodney Hatfield (a.k.a. Art Snake) 7