Review:
Pounders' Landscapes and floating islands worth the wait

Tom Shafer October 21, 2015, Journal and courrier

view from Elena's House.jpg

How does one define living the art spirit? I think it is not just enjoying art, but producing, thinking about and living for it throughout a lifetime.

I have followed the work of Al Pounders since 1970, and I have always been amazed by not only his masterful knowledge of painting but also his art-centered life style. Over a lifetime an artist’s interests and styles may change. Pounders’ paintings have explored realistic imagery on round canvases, large dark triptychs from his time in New York, small floral pieces, still life and, of course, landscapes.

Pounders, I am proud to say, is old school. He crafts every piece of art slowly with the intent of capturing as perfect a combination of composition and coloration as possible. His work is never hurried but built over weeks, months and years.

Our art community should be proud that we have as one of our own a true master who is currently sharing a selection of his landscape paintings, collages and oil stick works in the east gallery at the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette. This collection of work has never been shown locally and in this reviewer’s opinion is the best painting show the Art Museum has hung in decades.

If you can’t already tell, I am extremely excited about the strength and artistic energy this exhibit brings to our community. These works of art do not illustrate only the artist’s knowledge of the medium. They also demonstrate a lifelong steadfast commitment to a blue-collar daily work ethic. As a result of this body of work, well-established and emerging artists, as well as those just now contemplating a life in the visual arts, can use this presentation as a well-defined learning tool.

Close observation of these works will give every gallerygoer a visual history of each piece. Standing back from the oil paintings, viewers will see beautifully designed compositions that examine spacious rolling landscapes. Upon close examination, layer upon layer of pigment will reveal the time-consuming effort of combinations of transparent, semi-transparent and opaque application of pigment. This approach also includes the artist’s oil stick works.

The free-form collages titled “Islands” are an excellent example of creative manipulation. By deconstructing numerous watercolor paintings that did not satisfy the artist and re-employing them with other successful sections, Pounders has created re-energized works of art. The creative playfulness of these pieces absolutely explode off the blue gallery wall.

Shafer provides insight about art exhibits in Greater Lafayette. Email him at orieshafer@hotmail.com.