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Art in Plain Sight: Two Entrances by Eric Mart PDF Print E-mail
Art - Feature Stories
Written by Bruce Walters   
Friday, 26 July 2013 05:25

Freight House Farmers Market Entrance by Eric Mart. Photo by Bruce Walters.

The entrance to the Freight House Farmers Market – at 421 West River Drive in downtown Davenport – is framed by a 15-foot-tall arched entry. The artist, Eric Mart, also created the gateway to his studio and the Sol-Iron Gallery at 620 West Third Street, just a few blocks away. Although both entires are made entirely of metal and are similar in size, one is welcoming while the other is intimidating. Their impact is shaped, in large part, by their settings and our associations with the objects used.

The brightly painted, freestanding entrance to the Freight House Farmers Market is flanked by a variety of flowering plants. It feels friendly and open. The handmade, cutout letters are playful. In this good-natured context, the tines of the pitchfork at the top of the arch seem to reach upward, almost like the rays of a rising sun. The vintage rotary hoes seem like pinwheels and flowers. Although the archway serves as a business sign, it is also a striking sculptural form.

 
Art in Plain Sight: Two Sculptures in Downtown Moline PDF Print E-mail
Art - 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
Art - 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.

 
Art in Plain Sight: The Centennial Bridge PDF Print E-mail
Art - 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.

 
Winners from the 37th-Annual Rock Island Fine Arts Exhibition PDF Print E-mail
Art - Feature Stories
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 02 April 2013 10:25

For the 37th-annual Rock Island Fine Arts Exhibition, the River Cities’ Reader invited winning artists – selected by juror Pamela Blotner of California – to write about their work. Their statements follow.

The exhibit runs through April 21 at the Augustana College Art Gallery (inside Centennial Hall, 3703 Seventh Avenue in Rock Island). The gallery is open from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays for the duration of the exhibit. A reception will be held on Friday, April 5; awards will be presented at 5:40 p.m.

Pam Echeverria, 'Qutang Gorg'

First Prize: Pam Echeverria (Cedar Falls, Iowa), Qutang Gorge, acrylics.

Teresa Mesich, 'Bird Circus'

Second Prize: Teresa Mesich (Rock Island, Illinois), Bird Circus, acrylic on canvas. “Color, movement, and figure are very important in my work. It all comes together in the idea of ‘circus.’ Bird Circus evolved over two years and is the first in a planned circus series. I love the swaying shapes of flags and tents, and the criss-crossing ropes that divide space, and the over-the-top colors and costumes of humans and animals.

“Technically, my paintings are additions and subtractions. After much over-painting and wiping out, I study what is left to re-create, all the time thinking ‘circus.’ People become animals, lions become ruffled birds. Shapes change. Colors change. This evolution leads to constant surprise and discovery, until finally I am satisfied that the work is finished.”

 
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