One of the most important things I noticed about the current exhibit at MidCoast Gallery West was what I didn't see. The exhibit features more than 30 works by nine women, but there is nothing in or about the show to draw your attention to the artists' sex.

Spiritual elements run through the current show at Quad City Arts in The District of Rock Island, with two artists interested in the idea of a life-force connection. The exhibit features paintings by David Murray and intaglio prints by Katie Kiley and runs through March 22.

Elizabeth Shriver strives for beauty, while Steve Banks tries to achieve ugly. She works in ceramics and is into natural shapes, while he works in two-dimensional painting and collages and is into unnatural shapes.

If you like Isabel Bloom's whimsical cast-concrete figurines and want to learn a bit more about the artist, you'll enjoy this exhibit at the Davenport Museum of Art, which collects 25 of the sculptor's early works, including a few unfinished ones showing the armature supporting the concrete overlay.

The most striking thing about Emily Lambertsen's paintings is her compositions. She works from photographs, but her compositions create images that transcend the original photo. Color is used sparingly but dramatically to enhance the effect.

JinMan Jo's one-man show at Quad City Arts gallery in downtown Rock Island is very ambitious in its size and medium, with expressive rustic sculptures that evoke an emotional response from the viewer.

I think they are better suited to being shown outside, and this is also the artist's preferred venue.

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.

wetware /wet'wâr'/ n. [perhaps from the novels of Rudy Rucker or Stanislav Lem] 1. The human nervous system, as opposed to computer hardware or software. 2. Human beings (programmers, operators, administrators) attached to a computer system, as opposed to the system's hardware or software.

"If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." This quotation from 1882 by designer and reformer William Morris sums up the underlying philosophy that a master of the Japanese style of pottery imbued his students with in the 1960s and 1970s.

One of the things I enjoy about the shows at the MidCoast Fine Arts Gallery in LeClaire's Iowa Welcome Center is the open comment book. People who wander in off the highway, looking for a place to make a potty stop, can find themselves in an art gallery.

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