Thursday, April 19, 2012

Currently on Display @Kibbee Gallery

A Celebration of Imagination 
by Chris Neuenschwander

      Imagination, it is what we use to explain the things we do not understand. It is how we open a jar of octopus while riding down the highway on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Sometimes we do not want grape jelly, sometimes we just want strawberry. That is important, we always like to have that choice. Life is funny and far too stressful to take seriously. That is why, when given the option, we all chose imagination over butterfly wings. Looking back on it I do not think the butterfly wings would have been a bad choice. That’s my one regret. Now, if only we had a can opener.
      Pareidolia, the psychological phenomenon of lying on your back, staring at the sky and turning vague, random pieces of cloud information into things that we can understand. Things we want to see, things we hope to see, things we wish existed, things we think exist, and things we think we thought we saw. Stories unfold and plots play out. Hippos can fly, and penguins should dance. The moral of the story is whether something is supposed to be in the air or not, we have to suspend disbelief and accept it for what it is. Where there is a will and a way, there is a walrus who can operate a jet pack. Let us not take that away from him. He worked hard to get where he is, and where he is, is about 10,000 feet above where he should be. Do not define yourself by limitations set by others. Define yourself by popsicles and Broadway musicals. The absence of a ground plane will make your imagination go wild. There is nothing to limit and define what you are thinking or experiencing. With no frame of reference, and nothing familiar, go wild. Just make it quick, my parents will be home at eleven. Ethereal.

Review: “Echoes” showcases Atlanta artists’ printmaking chops

By Catherine Fox

Paul Rodecker: "Skol I," detail

Seeing the shows at Kibbee Gallery used to be a two-shot affair: at the opening and the closing. Thankfully, the gallery is now open Thursdays through Saturdays. I say “thankfully” because Kibbee is one of the best places to see a mix of Atlanta artists at various stages in their careers.
Guest curator Joe Elias Tsambiras has assembled such a group in “Echoes: Adventures in Printmaking,” which runs through April 28. The Kennesaw State University professor brings together seasoned artists such as Matthew Sugarman and talented students such as Ashlyn Pope in an exhibition that showcases wide-ranging approaches to the medium.
These artists print on anything from paper towels to stuffed animals, and a number of them liberate the print from the frame. The collective Plastic Aztecs takes to the walls in “A Whiff of Uncertainty,” in which little cut-out screen prints resembling spider webs and other bits of nature float as if in thin air, some actually jutting out from the wall.
Plastic Aztecs: "Whiff of Uncertainty (detail)

The elements battle it out in Stephanie Smith’s ”Obscured Vision.” The University of West Georgia professor created giant woodcuts affixed to board to create an installation in which a hovering cloud dripping huge raindrops threatens to douse the campfire below.
Silk-screened pigs (the aforementioned animals) do fly, along with kites, all of which seem to be soaring out of a cardboard container like a Hydra-headed jack-in-the-box in Chris Neuenschwander’s whimsical sculpture.
Paul Rodecker uses a computer program Manga Studio, designed for drawing comics, in his “Skol” series. The images are all hand-drawn, according to gallery director Ben Goldman, and the artist pushed the limits of the software. The prints depict a large skull, which he has filled to various degrees with dense passages of imagery — body parts, flora – that evoke the “horror vacuii” of medieval arts, not to mention just plain horror. Rodecker represents a skull-and-bones Goth sensibility, one of the leitmotifs that holds the show together.
The image of the hand is a recurring image, and the sense of implied narrative is a common thread. The pieces belonging to Mariana Depetris‘ “Tale of the Handless Maiden” series exemplify both. These delicate mixed-media works, which evoke the intimacy of the artist’s private notebook, are inspired by female protagonists of dark folk tales and stories.
Mariana Depetris: "The Handless Maiden, #1"

Tsambiras takes a page (forgive me) from medieval manuscripts in “Flow of Memories.” In this beautifully executed viscosity etching & aquatint, tendrils and leaves of vines pierce disembodied hands and feet. The image brings to mind the Crucifixion, but also sundry stories in which human characters are physically melded into nature. The same theme appears in two pieces by KSU student Ashlyn Pope, though with a more sexual resonance.

Given all the references to archetypes, myths and medieval art, it would seem that “Echoes” is even more apt as a title than Tsambiras intended.

The exhibition also includes work by Karen Cleveland, Becky Furey, Sam Parker, Andrea Sanders and Dorothy Stucki.
Closing reception: 7-9 p.m. April 28. Home page image: Joe Tsambiras, “Flow of Wonder,” detail.