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Bold Statements: The Rock Island Fine Arts Exhibition, Through May 1 at Augustana College PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Michelle Garrison   
Friday, 11 March 2011 05:25

Leslie Bell, 'Little Guilders'

You can’t miss Leslie Bell’s Little Guilders. His generous use of blazing hot pink and graffiti-style drips with neoclassical nudes is a compelling and somewhat mysterious blend of figurative, narrative, and abstract painting. Of the 56 works in the 35th Annual Rock Island Fine Arts Exhibition, vivid and conceptually layered two-dimensional work such as this dominates the walls, with comparatively small yet graceful three-dimensional pieces serving as complements.

The annual exhibition, in Centennial Hall at Augustana College through May 1, includes artists who live within 150 miles of the Quad Cities and awards more than $3,000 to 10 top-judged works. This year’s show was juried by Dan Mills, an artist and the director of the Samek Art Gallery at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania.

About half the work Mills selected is exceptionally strong, balancing technique, aesthetic, and ideas. The remainder demonstrates technical skill but lacks the innovation or conceptual intrigue of the exhibit’s best pieces.

 
Vehicles for Novel Imagery: Three Artists at the Quad City International Airport, Through February 28 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Michelle Garrison   
Tuesday, 15 February 2011 09:52

Grant William Thye, 'Autumn in the Blue Ridge'

I’ve never seen trees like Grant William Thye’s before. The textural and layered brushstrokes commonly used in rendering trees are replaced by bright, flat, organic shapes outlined in calligraphic swooshes. The result is a fresh approach to the genre that’s part classical landscape, part abstraction, and part cartoon.

This freshness and presence of a clear style are apparent with all three artists on display through February 28 in Quad City Arts’ gallery at the Quad City International Airport. Thye, Angela Dieffenbach, and Karina Cutler-Lake employ traditional genres as vehicles for novel imagery.

 
Art in Plain Sight: Moline War Memorial by C.S. Paolo PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Bruce Walters   
Wednesday, 09 February 2011 08:43

War memorial by C.S. Paolo. Photo by Bruce Walters.

A large cast-bronze war memorial has stood in downtown Moline for roughly eight decades. On the sculpture’s north side is the imagery one might expect on such a memorial: an idealized soldier holding an American flag under the spread wings of an eagle. Rising through the sculpture’s center is a towering flag pole.

This is not the oldest war memorial in the Quad Cities, nor is it the most prominent or grandest. It is, however, a thoughtful – perhaps even profound – sculptural group of five figures.

 
Working the Land: “The John Deere Art Collection,” Through May 22 at the Figge PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Michelle Garrison   
Wednesday, 26 January 2011 08:39

Streeter Blair, 'Texas.' Image courtesy of Deere & Company.

Rolling farms stretching to the horizon. Salt-of-the-earth farmers. Tractors sputtering to life at sunrise. These are the images one would expect to see in the Deere & Company art collection. However, the Figge Art Museum and the agricultural-machinery manufacturer have put together an exhibit that delves much deeper, into a diverse visual exploration of the natural, the mechanical, and the interplay between the two. Contrary to what one might expect given Deere’s corporate identity, the show presents more than idealized visions of agrarian life; it frequently allows for artistic ambivalence about the industrialization of farming.

 
Art in Plain Sight: Bettendorf Learning Campus PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Bruce Walters   
Wednesday, 29 December 2010 10:46

Matt Kargol, ‘Passages.’ Photo by Bruce Walters.

Passages is a grouping of four rectangular columns prominently placed between the Family Museum and the Bettendorf Public Library on Learning Campus Drive. The column closest to the library lies flat on the ground. In sequence, the other three stand angled at 45 degrees, 67 degrees, and finally fully vertical. The effect of these 18-foot-tall, stainless-steel columns rising in a stop-motion progression is impressive.

Yet what ultimately catches one’s attention is the brightly painted sphere perched precariously at the top of the standing column. An area the size of the sphere has been scooped out of the other columns. These smooth inverse curves are painted in the same bright colors as the sphere – yellow, red, and green – and visually soften the angular metal impact of the sculptural group. They feel like a finger’s indent in a stick of butter. The positioning of these indents creates an illusion of an upward trajectory or path that the sphere has taken.

 
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