Suscribe to Weekly RiverCitiesReader.com Updates
* indicates required

View previous campaigns.

Latest Comments

Elegant Amusement: Terry Rathje’s “Questionable Architecture,” at the Figge through August 25 PDF Print E-mail
Art - Reviews
Written by Sherry C. Maurer   
Wednesday, 24 July 2013 08:32

'Ophidian,' by Terry Rathje

Tree house, snow fort, doll house, sand castle – most of us enjoyed playing with some kind of architecture as a child. The exhibition Questionable Architecture, by Terry Rathje in collaboration with Steve Banks and Monica Correia, unleashes a whiff of that joy for viewers with fanciful structures that appeal as sophisticated art forms.

The exhibition – running through August 25 – is located in the fourth-floor gallery of the Figge Art Museum, and a transitional experience is suggested by the lattice-passageway entrance, constructed with loosely assembled wood slats arcing above that recall youthful explorations in building. Nearly a dozen structures are in place that you walk around in the conventional way, but you also walk into and through some of the works. Materials range from a pagoda constructed of found objects to a tunnel of foam planks trussed together with bamboo skewers.

 
Connecting the Dots: “Waxing Poetic: Exploring Expression in Art,” through October 7 at the Figge Art Museum PDF Print E-mail
Art - Reviews
Written by Michelle Garrison   
Wednesday, 18 July 2012 10:13

Marlene Miller, 'Girl 1'A museum patron expects to find informative signage near an artwork., including biographical information about the artist, a description of the piece’s historical context, or critical acclaim. Instead, the placard near the Marlene Miller sculpture Girl 1 – currently on display in the Figge Art Museum’s Waxing Poetic show – reads: “what gestates in the roots unseen / reveals herself as tall on the inside / grown whole-sprung from a trunk / full of well manners & bluest eyes / puzzled by where she comes from.”

This pairing of a visual work with a poem highlights how we assign meaning to art. In his words, Ryan Collins captures the literal appearance of the work– referencing the tree trunk, the girl’s intensely blue eyes, and her polite but befuddled posture and expression.

But it also reads the sculpture. “Grown whole-sprung” and “tall on the inside” refer to the aged and androgynous face, contrasted with the child’s body: The texture of the head is chunky and scratchy, as opposed to the smoothness of the body. Collins imagines the sudden appearance of this creature, enhancing our view of it without dictating a specific interpretation.

The exhibit – running through October 7 – is less about the artworks as stand-alone objects than about the process of inferring meaning. In addition to artworks matched with poetry in specific response to them, viewers are invited to create their own written reactions. At the center of the exhibit is a writing table with pens and paper, and under each work is a hanging packet of collected visitor responses. The technologically inclined are prompted to Tweet their responses to designated hashtags.

 
Out of Time, Out of Place: “David Plowden’s Iowa,” through August 26 at the Figge Art Museum PDF Print E-mail
Art - Reviews
Written by Michelle Garrison   
Thursday, 31 May 2012 08:00

David Plowden, 'Bean Field & House, Grundy County, Iowa 2003'

Iowa is hardly renowned for dramatic landscape or architecture. One can drive for miles with no sign of life other than a road and a tilled field.

Bean Field & House, Grundy County, Iowa 2003 by photographer David Plowden dramatically depicts such a bare scene. Roughly 80 percent of the composition is sky, with sparse, fluffy clouds. At the bottom is a strip of dark land, with rows of crops running to the horizon. On the left side is a boxy house, which becomes an interesting subject when framed by the immense sky. The lines of beans bring the viewers’ eyes upward, emphasizing the void. The tininess of the house in the picture makes the viewer feel diminutive.

Plowden’s composition illustrates that the beauty of Midwestern scenery often lies in its grand simplicity, and how that alters the sense of scale. The stark flatness of the land, only occasionally punctuated by trees or farm buildings, shifts our field of vision; the sky begins to seems bigger, and everything on the ground becomes smaller.

David Plowden’s Iowa (at the Figge Art Museum through August 26) masterfully captures the scale-warping effects of the landscape, and the photographer’s 47 images of rural and small-town Iowa ably document the Midwestern agricultural aesthetic.

But he also manipulates and confuses viewers’ perceptions – of size, distance, plainness, and even time – through artistic tools such as juxtaposition, viewing angle, and lack of context.

 
A Visual Menagerie: Diane Naylor, Louise Rauh, and Elizabeth Shriver, through April 30 at the Quad City International Airport PDF Print E-mail
Art - Reviews
Written by Michelle Garrison   
Thursday, 05 April 2012 08:18

Works by Elizabeth Shriver and Diane Naylor

The phrase “the elephant in the room” is a metaphor for the obvious things we choose to ignore. In The Great White Elephant, Diane Naylor treats those words literally to explore our often contradictory, yet rarely acknowledged, relationship with the animal kingdom. Naylor’s work presents our simultaneous tendency to idealize and dominate nature.

The painting is part of the current show – featuring 57 pieces by three local artists and running through April – at the Quad City Arts gallery inside the Quad City International Airport. Naylor’s work is narrative and analytical, which creates a well-rounded exhibit when combined with the art of Elizabeth Shriver and Louise Rauh, who address nature with a focus on form rather than concept.

 
Cuddly Monsters, Captivating Portraits, and Juicy, Gross Textures: The 36th-Annual Rock Island Fine Arts Exhibition, through April 22 PDF Print E-mail
Art - Reviews
Written by Michelle Garrison   
Thursday, 22 March 2012 06:01

Jessica Teckemeyer, 'Fawn or Foe'

Jessica Teckemeyer’s Fawn or Foe is both a cuddly creature and a disturbing monster, with a lifelike aura that defies the porcelain from which it’s formed. In this year’s Rock Island Fine Arts Exhibition, the piece stands out as a strong marriage of technique and subtext.

Similarly, Kristin Quinn’s Flyway offers a modern sensibility and expression that differentiate it from an exhibition full of technical skill yet often lacking stylistic flair, nuance, and ambiguity.

While those two works are exceptional, there’s also a strong vein of realism in the show, and several artists conjure meaning through an abstract approach – but without quite reaching the resonant standard set by Teckemeyer and Quinn.

Featuring 51 pieces by 40 artists within a 150-mile radius of the Quad Cities, the 36th-annual exhibit is on display in Centennial Hall at Augustana College through April 22. Juror Joseph Mella, the director of the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery in Nashville, Tennessee, awarded prizes sponsored by the Rock Island Art Guild and Augustana College.

 
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>

Page 1 of 37