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The Enigmatic Nude: Les Bell, Through October at Leger Gallery PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 26 September 2006 22:58

"Genre Chaos" Les Bell is well-known in the Quad Cities area for his teaching at St. Ambrose University, his wide intelligence, and his colorful and sensitive use of the nude in his art. There are few artists who can so easily paint the human figure as the primary subject of their work. The new Leger Gallery, in downtown Davenport, is presently hosting a 10-year retrospective of his paintings.

In Bell's world, the nude form is an artistic style, a psychological mystery, and a symbol. He is painting women in their many relationships and roles - from strong to vulnerable, from innocent to wise, and from beautiful to detached. She appears as a nervous young girl looking out from behind a curtain, a busy young woman at the beach on her cell phone, a calm, dark-haired female eyeing her companion, a distressed woman turning away, an intense, worldly lady erotically drying herself on a beach, a shy young girl, a young maiden holding snakes, a waif, a French courtesan, a Spanish dancer, and many more.

Mysterious Ways: "The Architect’s Brother," through October 29 at the Figge Art Museum PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 19 September 2006 22:44

Mending the Earth The images of Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison - at the Figge Art Museum through October 29 - transport us through narrative image to a world that is parallel to our own, but oddly vacant and visually strange, owing largely to things being out of scale, a lack of color, and metaphorical structures such as gears turning beneath the surface of the earth.

Where exactly these worlds exist is unclear, but the place suggests a 19th Century country where an impoverished inventor is trying to build new machines out of scrap parts. Or it may be a future place after an environmental disaster that is populated by a sole survivor who is trying to save what he can while being over-equipped with archaic tools and under-equipped with appropriate technology. The message seems to be that the task before him is enormous, and the odds of success are in question, at best.

Quiet Giant: Riverssance Honors the Memory of Jeanne Tamisiea PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 12 September 2006 23:04

Reader issue #598 When Bill Hannan first met Jeanne Tamisiea in the 1980s, she was one of three finalists for a teaching position on the fine-arts faculty at Black Hawk College. "You could tell right off the bat that she was a teacher," Hannan said. "If you are a teacher, you can spot one."

Tamisiea "tried to connect immediately," Hannan explained. She made eye contact and asked questions, and the vibe was less of a job interview than a classroom in which Tamisiea was the teacher and her interrogators were her students. "Jeanne sat down to talk to us," Hannan said. "The other two [candidates] sat down to be interviewed."

After the interviews, Hannan said, the decision to hire Tamisiea was a foregone conclusion. "We only talked about her," he said. "We didn't talk about the other two guys."

“It’s Either Me or the Landfill”: Metal Sculpture by Dick Cooley PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 12 September 2006 23:02

"Sunbeam, Airstream, Toaster Camper" by Dick Cooley Glancing at the Dick Cooley metal sculpture that he calls "my Sunbeam, Airstream, Toaster Camper," your first thought is likely to be: Look at that - a toaster on roller skates.

But stare at it a bit longer. Hey - there's a bottle opener for the grill. That's a cheese-grater awning. The lights are actually nuts. And wait a minute ... is that what I think it is?

Yup. "I have a martini shaker on the front for a hitch," Cooley said during a recent phone interview. "I always try to put many different things in a piece."

A Smile on the Wall: Airbrushed Acrylic Paintings by John Booth PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 12 September 2006 23:00

"Suited Saguaro Sights Migrating Money" by John M. Booth Painter John M. Booth, referencing one of his artworks, says, "Hopefully, it'll put a smile on somebody's wall." The odds are pretty good that it will - in his airbrushed acrylic paintings, there's a lot of smiling going on.

In Booth's Fishin, an enormous red fish grins dementedly as he prepared to devour a small black cat. In Tada, a similar fish - emerald green this time - is balanced on top of a cat, who, in turn, stands upon a dog; their smiles indicate great pride at the feat. (Ta da!) In Good Coffee, a balding, middle-aged man looks frighteningly giddy about taking his first sip.

And throughout Booth's works, many of which can be seen at ( and at Riverssance this weekend, his figures - human and animal, smiling and unsmiling alike - are painted in bold, vivid colors, a vibrant array of reds, blues, greens, and purples.

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