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Elegant Amusement: Terry Rathje’s “Questionable Architecture,” at the Figge through August 25 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Sherry C. Maurer   
Wednesday, 24 July 2013 08:32

'Ophidian,' by Terry Rathje

Tree house, snow fort, doll house, sand castle – most of us enjoyed playing with some kind of architecture as a child. The exhibition Questionable Architecture, by Terry Rathje in collaboration with Steve Banks and Monica Correia, unleashes a whiff of that joy for viewers with fanciful structures that appeal as sophisticated art forms.

The exhibition – running through August 25 – is located in the fourth-floor gallery of the Figge Art Museum, and a transitional experience is suggested by the lattice-passageway entrance, constructed with loosely assembled wood slats arcing above that recall youthful explorations in building. Nearly a dozen structures are in place that you walk around in the conventional way, but you also walk into and through some of the works. Materials range from a pagoda constructed of found objects to a tunnel of foam planks trussed together with bamboo skewers.

 
Art in Plain Sight: Two Sculptures in Downtown Moline PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Bruce Walters   
Thursday, 20 June 2013 07:23

'Spirit of Place.' Photo by Bruce Walters.

Downtown Moline’s industrial past is memorialized by two metal sculptures. One is abstract, the other representational. Both are reminders that the downtown riverfront was once crowded with factories and was at the heart of the “Farm Implement Capital of the World.”

Spirit of Place, an imposing 19-foot-tall sculpture, stands between the i wireless Center and the Radisson hotel on a lawn that stretches from River Drive to the riverfront. The iron sculpture consists of a massive wedge seemingly piercing a geometric form atop a conical base. Unless one reads the nearby plaque that states that John Deere’s first plow factory was built on the site in 1848, the artwork seem out-of-place in its pleasant surrounding.

 
Graffiti Art at the Figge PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Bruce Walters   
Thursday, 06 June 2013 08:04

Photo by Bruce Walters

On May 30, a 48-foot stretch of panels was set up on a row of easels for Kevin McQueen Lonergan II and Gary White to paint a graffiti-style aerosol-art mural on the Figge Art Museum’s plaza. Interrupted daily by rain and wind over the course of the following week, the images and lettering of the mural were developed, painted out, rethought, and painted again in a roller coaster of creativity.

According to Lynn Gingras-Taylor, creative-arts coordinator for the Figge, “Kevin and Gary are recognized internationally as premier artists in their genre. They have been making aerosol art for more than 30 years.”

She added: “The mural they have painted at the Figge is a wonderful, colorful mix of a painterly mural style and cutting-edge graffiti fonts. ... [W]e will exhibit it at the museum and will also display it at various Figge family events.”

The artists continue to participate in street-art events across the nation; the next is Paint Louis on June 21 in St. Louis.

 
Winners of the River Cities’ Reader’s Spring Photo Contest PDF Print E-mail
Photography
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 30 May 2013 05:56

We had 69 entries in our spring photography contest, with the categories “brazen,” “future,” and “illumination.” As you might guess, that last one got the majority of the entries, and there were admittedly some struggles in making connections between the prompts and the pictures in the other two.

That’s part of the fun of these contests, however. On these pages you’ll find some of our favorites, with whatever commentary the photographer provided.

Thanks to all who entered!

Illumination, First Place: Skylar Davis. “I decided to submit this piece to the illumination category because it shows both actual light and a representation of being illuminated by God. The subject was praying before a dress rehearsal of a play she was nervous about participating in.”

Brazen, Third Place: Jess Ellis. “Na Pali Coast, Kauai.”

 
Art in Plain Sight: The Centennial Bridge PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Bruce Walters   
Tuesday, 07 May 2013 12:02

The Centennial Bridge. Photo by Bruce Walters.

Connecting Davenport and Rock Island, the Centennial Bridge is one of the most beautiful architectural structures in the Quad Cities. Viewed in the daytime, it is a graceful example of modern design. At night, the lights on the bridge’s five arches transform it into the river’s showpiece.

The bridge was designed by Iowa native Edward Ashton (1903-1985). Its lack of ornamentation is consistent with modern design’s dictum that form follows function, yet Ashton stated that he built every bridge with an eye for the visible beauty of the structure. He designed more than 20 bridges – including the Julien Dubuque Bridge in Dubuque, Iowa – but considered the Centennial Bridge his best design.

 
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