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Short on Legends, Loaded with Innovation: “Innovators & Legends,” through September 7 at the Figge PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Sherry C. Maurer   
Monday, 21 July 2014 19:48

'Soundsuit's by Nick Cave

It is as if a Jimi Hendrix concert outfit collided and merged with great-grandma’s doily and potholder collection in the 2009 Soundsuit by Nick Cave, part of the exhibition Innovators & Legends: Generations in Textiles & Fiber that runs through September 7 at the Figge Art Museum.

Cave’s 97-inch-tall soundsuits enclose the head and are made to be danced in, akin to African practices where the body is completely covered with an outfit. When traditionally “danced,” an African ensemble imbues the wearer with its particular spiritual power. For full effect, Cave’s suits need his performance energy and musical accompaniment.

Yet his suits alone are still imposing in size and detail. On the front of this suit at the Figge is a colorful, kaleidoscopic array of salvaged homemade crocheted and knitted goods, the kind that lovingly protected modest American tabletops. The back of the suit presents an opulent spectacle of sequined and beaded floral designs in gold, silver, and jewel colors that visually spin and pop. All of the components are unified by a common shimmering black-beaded and -sequined background.

The Figge’s newsletter notes that the traveling exhibition, organized by the Muskegon Museum of Art, includes more than 50 artists who explore the technical possibilities in fabric, thread, fiber, and yarn.

The exhibition title perhaps overreached the capacity of a single undertaking. To feature the “legendary” protagonists who, beginning in the mid-1950s, rapidly moved traditional fiber “craft” to “fine art” would require a linear tracing of their progress and profound change. The earliest pieces in this presentation date to the mid-1980s.

Nonetheless, the included works – mostly dating from the past 10 years – are accomplished and innovative in their technical mastery, surprising breadth of materials, and strength of statement.

 
Art in Plain Sight: “Cadence of Diversity” PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Bruce Walters   
Wednesday, 18 June 2014 11:19

Photo by Bruce Walters

Cadence of Diversity is a joyful mural – rich with expressions of many cultures that are balanced with an underlying theme of connectedness.

The 100-foot-long mural is painted on a concrete wall just south of Seventh Avenue on 38th Street in Rock Island. Working with more than 50 Augustana students, Peter Xiao – a professor of art at the college – led the mural’s development and execution throughout much of 2009, completing the work in the spring of 2010.

 
Timeless Treatments: Three Artists at the Quad City Airport Gallery Through June PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Sherry C. Maurer   
Thursday, 05 June 2014 09:13

Works by Matt Moyer. Photo by Meghan McLaughlin

Recently at the Quad City International Airport art gallery, two travelers were bluntly musing about twisting sculptures cantilevered off the display wall. “Normally, this would be considered a pile of crap,” one said.

I was taken aback and then chuckled at the comment. The sculptures of Matt Moyer, at first glance, do resemble aged industrial plumbing.

'Filtered Servo Appurtenance' by Matt MoyerBut closer inspection reveals something more. The airport visitors discussed the subtleties of these sculptures, discovering how the surface colorations simulate wear but are a bit too unblemished to be in a state of disintegration. The mechanical arabesques tease our eyes and raise questions about reactions to old objects.

Moyer’s pieces are the attention-grabbers in the three-person Quad City Arts show running through June. In addition to the work of Moyer (from Columbia, Missouri) are mixed-media assemblages by Wayne Bertola (of Chicago) and photography by Marvin Thompson (of Clinton, Iowa). While their work is very different, all three artists explore the effects of time.

 
Winners from the River Cities’ Reader’s 2014 Photo Contest PDF Print E-mail
Photography
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 29 May 2014 05:57

We received 116 entries in our 2014 Photo Contest in four categories: Fun in the Sun, In the Garden, Summer Nights, and Heat Wave. We’re happy to present this selection of winners.

Thanks to all who entered!


Mary Scott
Heat Wave, First Place
“Taken near the Santa Monica beach along the bike path. Although it was nearing the end of the day it was still very hot.”


Tom Pickering
Heat Wave, Second Place
“Photographed at a luau in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii.”

 
Art in Plain Sight: Blues Brothers and “Watching the Ferry” PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Bruce Walters   
Thursday, 22 May 2014 05:20

The Blues Brothers. Photo by Bruce Walters.

On May 2, the life-sized sculptures of the Blues Brothers were back on public display in the Rock Island District after months of storage and repairs. The sculptures are seated in chairs near the corner of Second Avenue and 18th Street.

On the same day, Watching the Ferry – a sculpture of two boys seated on a park bench – was unveiled at its new site in Davenport’s Lindsay Park near the riverfront. This sculpture had been out of public view for five years, since its removal from near the Iowa American Water treatment plant when construction began on a floodwall.

Although the timing was a coincidence, the two sculptures share some similarities. Both depict two young men seated side-by-side and convey a sense of camaraderie. Both look to a past associated with the Quad Cities. Both are based on works in other media: television and film with the Blues Brothers and a lithograph with Watching the Ferry.

A comparison between the two pieces is intriguing because of this difference in their sources – as well as in their attitudes, materials, and locations.

 
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