Mars Meets Venus at the Quad City Airport Print
Art - Reviews
Tuesday, 01 October 2002 18:00
The current show at the Art at the Airport Gallery in the Quad City International Airport is a classic counterpoint between masculine and feminine. For every vulva image created by Rowen Schussheim-Anderson’s furry fabric surrounding a center of contrasting color, there stands an erect wooden vase turned in Steve Sinner’s wood shop.

Rowen Schussheim-Anderson has 12 weavings in this exhibition. Even though weaving has been considered a craft, each piece in this show is truly a work of art. For example, Schussheim-Anderson’s Peruvian Canvas is a composition using textiles of various colors affixed to the backdrop of colored textile. There is a purple undulating blue tube of textile forming a linear contrast, completing the abstract composition. Schussheim-Anderson uses textiles as her paint, and in the case of Early Clothsong, her canvas is actually canvas.

A recurring composition is the furry, fuzzy frame with a center of contrasting color. We see this in Early Clothsong, Marrakech Express, Sesefun, Beadsong I, Elder’s Garb, African Nuptials, and Dance Wand. It is a composition that works well in the textile medium.

Her composition Staffs of Life is a funky collection of walking sticks with an attitude. There are about 15 staffs mounted on a platform, and each has its own personality. There is the wild and fuzzy guy and the pointed-headed dreamer and the whacked-out I-don’t-know-what. It is a fun collection and a stark departure from her weaved wall hangings.

The prices for the textile pieces range from $450 to $10,000 with the average price being roughly $3,000.

Steve Sinner’s wood vases never spoke to me as phallic symbols until I saw them juxtaposed with Schussheim-Anderson’s textiles. I can’t think of two more classic examples of male and female crafts: Men are woodworkers, and women are seamstresses and weavers.

That said, Sinner elevates wood-turning to an art, as Schussheim-Anderson does with textiles. He has 22 works in this show, ranging in price from $350 to $5,500, with the average price being about $2,500.

Two of his vases are outstanding examples of the natural wood grain being enhanced by Sinner’s selection of shape and finish: 1208 and Black Hills Gold. The 1208 piece is a classic shape for Sinner, in that it starts with a narrow base, widens to its largest diameter somewhere about three-quarters of the way to the top, and forms a shoulder that sharply narrows to a neck, which flares out to a finishing lip at the top. In the case of 1208, the red cedar wood grain overcomes the classic shape and draws your eye to its beauty.

With Black Hills Gold, Sinner departs from his classic shape by creating an almost vertical cylinder about 5 inches in diameter, with a small shoulder and lip at the top. The wood is dark with what appear to be gold flecks within it. The choice of this shape and the wood grain work together to make a striking vase.

In Celtic Dream IV, Sinner makes a fat vase out of maple but adds an inlaid decorative strip that echoes Celtic interweaving carvings. This shape and inlay work together well, and the maple grain is so muted that it doesn’t compete with the geometry of the design.

The Quad City International Airport gallery is just in front of the security checkpoint at the airport, so you can park your car in the short-term parking lot for a half an hour at no cost.
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