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Art in Plain Sight: The Arsenal and Wells Fargo Clocks PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Bruce Walters   
Thursday, 21 August 2014 12:40

The Rock Island Clock Tower Building. Photo by Bruce Walters.

The impressive clocks atop the Rock Island Clock Tower building (at the western point of Arsenal Island) and the Wells Fargo building (at 201 West Third Street in Davenport) are highly visible landmarks – day or night. From a distance, the clocks appear to be about the size of a full moon – and, like the moon, are viewed against the sky.

The message conveyed by the height, location, and longevity of these towers is that the institutions associated with them are of great importance to our community. Gazing upward to read the time forces us to look up to these institutions.

 
Hearts of Glass: Artisans and Students Make Hot Glass in a New Davenport Studio PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Thursday, 24 July 2014 06:00

Hot Glass art, photo by Meghan McLaughlinWhen you first walk in the doors of downtown Davenport’s recently opened Hot Glass art studio, there are a few things you might notice right off the bat.

Initially, your eye is drawn to the vibrant splashes of color on the shelving units to the left: multi-hued glass bowls, vases, and paperweights, all located beneath a striking, meticulously assembled, golden glass chandelier that wouldn’t look out of place in the ballroom of Beauty & the Beast.

To your right, you see much of the studio’s equipment: a workbench and containers of colored glass and a pair of sizable furnaces, one of whose indicators reveals its interior temperature to be just over 2,300 degrees.

On the opposite side of the studio, through the windows facing River Drive, you’re treated to a view of Modern Woodmen Park so picture-perfect that the ballpark should consider using it on souvenir postcards. (Hot Glass is located at 104 Western Avenue, in the rear of the Davenport Printing Company facility.)

But if you turn around and face the direction you came in, you’ll find what is the most beautiful sight in the entire studio, at least for Hot Glass Executive Director Joel Ryser and his co-founder son Logan: a large sign on the wall listing the names of local organizations, businesses, and individuals who provided the money, equipment, and experience necessary to make their dream studio a reality.

 
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.

 
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