On display: New exhibits kick off spring
Journal and Courier, May 28, 2015
Domenica Bongiovanni, firstname.lastname@example.org
If you missed some of the art at May 15's first Gallery Walk, you have a good excuse. Ducking under umbrellas and avoiding puddles kind of kills the mood.
So if you haven't yet made it to all the new exhibits, let this roundup — which hits a few of many highlights around town — be your guide. If these spring shows are any indication of what's to come, the community will have a summer chock full of thoughtful, inspiring visual art.
"The Art of Stitching: Americus Quilt Club Centennial"
Getting lost in the mesmerizing swirls of hand-quilted stitching on the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette's walls is easy. Equally fascinating are the women responsible for much of the work on display.
Founded as the Ladies Aid in 1915, the Americus Quilting Club now is composed of 40 female members who meet twice a month to quilt and share a potluck lunch. Several women sit around a frame and hand-quilt the back, filler and top together. Depending on size and complexity, a quilt can cost $50 to $250. The proceeds go to local charities, the church that hosts the women and the group's annual Christmas dinner, member Linda Copas said.
If you'd like one of their items, then plan ahead — there's a seven-year waiting list, President Carolyn Kolb said.
Quilts on display range from 1915 to the present, and there's much to scrutinize. For example, Copas said, flowers and prints were tiny in the 1920s and grew bigger and brighter over the decades. Copas also recommends viewers look for stories in the patterns. Her quilt "Paducah Memories" folds in dogwood blossoms, a van and a bear to relate her spring trip during which she stayed at Big Bear Resort and attended the American Quilter's Society show in Paducah, Kentucky.
"I Go Yupo": Rebecca Brody
If you're accustomed to watercolor in which subtle colors are partially soaked into paper, then the vibrancy of Brody's showing will startle you. Vivid water, vegetables, fish and birds leap off the walls at Tippecanoe Arts Federation's East Gallery.
For most of the exhibit's paintings, Brody swapped traditional paper for Yupo, which has a plastic surface and a mind all its own. Instead of absorbing pigment like traditional paper, she said, it holds it on top, which concentrates the color and, by extension, its vibrancy.
"With Yupo, it can also be very strong and very, very powerful and stand up on the wall ... with oil and acrylics — be just as strong as they are," she said.
What's more, the way the paint dried on Yupo kept Brody guessing. After painting Prussian blue inside a mostly dry pink flower in "Pop! Pop! Poppies," she went to bed and woke up to find that the paint had broken down into tiny strands resembling stamen — a technique she tried to duplicate by hand and couldn't.
Her hands-off approach paid dividends. The work made it into the Illinois Watercolor Society, a national juried show, in 2013.
"Ponderings": Joanne Kuhn Titolo and Bonnie Stahlecker
Perhaps Titolo's "Caught" is the best way for viewers to enter her current collection at Artists' Own. In it, a ball of wire is suspended on a honeysuckle trunk that looks like a gnarled, bony hand. A push and pull between the man-made and natural elements is evident along with its metaphor, which is embedded in the work's title.
Titolo set up interactions between natural items and metal — letting them play against and with each other — to explore texture and form, she said. By using familiar materials, she wants people to make their own associations.
The metaphors — including branches and roots that can represent arteries in rivers or veins in the human body — are purposefully open ended, she said, to start conversations.
For her half of "Ponderings," Stahlecker digs into the spaces between words — the information that is conveyed nonverbally during an exchange. Bits of script on the pieces, which she wrote, give a sense of language, but the text's illegibility from afar keeps it from taking center stage, she said.
With its striking curves and size, "Between the Words" incorporates printed and painted elk leather stitched to metal frames that surrounds script on a dark gray paper center. Stahlecker, who lives in Plainfield, said it's an abstraction of an ear canal, which nods to her theme of conversation.
Stand up close or take in the works from several feet back — both offer valuable perspectives.
"Viajes en España (Travels in Spain)": Linda LeMar and LuAnn Lamie
Most people come back from travels with good intentions to frame photos and display memorabilia on coffee tables. Artists Lamie and LeMar returned from a 2014 trip to Spain and set to work on what would become an exhibit at Something Special Gallery.
Struck by the ancient structures' peeling paint and graffiti, castles, gardens and dark history, Lamie created art that evokes book-like journals with a three-dimensional feel. Several works wrap around boxy structures and bits of stitched layers resemble bindings.
"Tribute to the Artists," for example, portrays skull-like heads on a dark, heavy-feeling dark background with a paintbrush stitched to the left side. Lamie said the work recalled Spain's historical wartime turmoil and painters, including Francisco de Goya and Pablo Picasso, who dealt with it in their art.
"It really takes you back to the vulnerability of humanity but yet the celebration of art and beauty," she said of the way Spain's breath-taking architecture incorporated skulls and other symbols of death.
The impetus for LeMar's work comes from her and her husband's travels on El Camino de Santiago, a network of foot paths in Europe that lead to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Wrought with spiritual and historical significance, the journey inspired LeMar to be introspective and meet people from all over the world, she said.
In this exhibit, LeMar sought to impart what stuck with her. She said a few pieces show wild foxgloves in different states — bright, vibrant and subdued under a mist.
Footprints, meant to celebrate the people they met on El Camino, allowed LeMar to indulge her love of texture, she said. Greens, reds and blues cover a bumpy surface imprinted with the soles of athletic shoes, which she found held the most visual interest.
More current exhibits
What: "Ponderings" by Joanne Kuhn Titolo and Bonnie Stahlecker through June 27
When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday
Where: 518 Main St.
Art Museum of Greater Lafayette
What:"Language of the Road: Meditations on Nature, Repair and Reverie" by artist and Purdue University professor Charles Gick, through Sept. 6; "The Art of Stitching: Americus Quilt Club Centennial," through Sept. 6; "Artsmart: The Legacy of T.C. Steele," through Oct. 18; and "Foundations and Forward: Works from the Permanent Collection," through Oct. 18
When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
Where: 102 S. 10th St.
Grateful Heart Gallery
What: "Pieces and Parts" by Rachel Witt, through June 15
When: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday
Where: 654 Main St.
What: "Kick the Canvas" by Angela Vinson and "Student Spotlight" by Eden Bruce, through July 11
When: 10 a.m.-1 p.m., 4 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday
Where: 609 Main St.
Purdue University Galleries
What: FABRICation, through Aug. 8
When/where: Fountain Gallery, 330 Main St., noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; Robert L. Ringel Gallery in Stewart Center, 128 Memorial Mall, West Lafayette, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and by appointment; and Patti and Rusty Rueff Galleries in Yue-Kong Pao Hall, 552 W. Wood St., West Lafayette: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday and by appointment
Something Special Gallery
What: "Viajes en España" by Linda LeMar and LuAnn Lamie, through June 30
When: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday
Where: 668 Main St.
Tippecanoe Arts Federation: Wells Community Cultural Center
What: "I Go Yupo" by Rebecca Brody; "The Journey Within — The Journey Without" by Jerie Artz; and "Yearound" by Temre Stanchfield, all through June 19
When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday
Where: 638 North St.