Sunday, April 6, 2003

Weston features two different artists


Painters discuss works at downtown gallery today

By Marilyn Bauer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

One show I wouldn't miss is on at the Weston Art Gallery featuring paintings by Jim Wainscott and Deborah Morrissey-McGoff.

I am particularly partial to Wainscott's deeply felt, sometimes symbolic canvases with painstaking detail and a graphic quality that makes it impossible to stop looking. And it doesn't matter much what his subject is.

In "Going Somewhere," an acrylic on wood, there's a dog sitting in anticipation in the front seat of a car. In "Thunder," there is beautiful white on white patterned Victorian couch with curved and carved wood accents sitting in a field, perhaps at the edge of a forest, a thunder cloud gathering in the background. In "Over Court," a portrait of a block he lived on in New York is partially covered by the intricate detail of an Oriental rug.

Morrissey-McGoff is a different kind of painter who has mastered the saturated stained-glass light of Renaissance illuminations in her portraits of real and imagined landscapes. She paints on wood panels prepared with traditional gesso to give the surfaces an "aged" look, which contrasts with the contemporary components of the compositions. There is a sense of bliss in many of the renderings.

The show runs through May 31, and there is a gallery talk with the artists at 5 p.m. today.

Information: 977-4165.

Art 'snack': An interesting idea from the Chicago Cultural Center is Art-o-mat, a vending "snack" machine that sells (for $5) pocket-sized paintings, sculpture and poems by local artists.

Fifteen Chicago artists contribute, along with 310 other artists from 10 countries. There are 43 Art-o-mats across the country - L.A., New York, Cleveland, Houston - but the Chicago machine is putting them all to shame selling more than 200 pieces per month.

Some see the program as a painless intro to the art world - you know it's not intimidating, artists receive 50 percent of sales, and it can act as a calling card because most artists print phone and e-mail contacts on their pieces. Not to mention it's a great way to recycle cigarette machines, which is what creator Clark Whittington does.

Whittington plans on increasing his Art-o-mat distribution into health food stores, independent cinemas and cafes.

To take a look, log on to www.artomat.org.

Dayton sale: The Dayton Art Institute is in the midst of selling some of its 12,000-piece collection. New chief curator Michael Komanecky has been given the directive from CEO Alex Nyerges to remold the institute's permanent collection, filling in gaps and creating a lively presentation of art history. About 80 pieces are up for sale, with an additional 80 slated for auction.

Komanecky, formerly of the Phoenix Art Museum, has already masterminded the museum's second most expensive acquisition - "The Immaculate Conception," a 17th-century masterwork by Spanish painter Bartolome Esteban Murillo, bought for $750,000.

"The Immaculate Conception" will hang in the space previously held by "Fortuna," a 16th-century Flemish nude by an unknown painter that goes up for auction in May. The piece should bring about $30,000.

So far, sales from the "de-accessioned" artworks (many gifts to the museum) taken over the past nine months in three auctions by Christies in London and New York are $400,000. There is an additional million in the pipeline and the museum hopes to raise an additional million as the de-accession goes on. All money raised is restricted to the purchase of new art.

Nyerges stresses this is not the first time the museum has undergone a sell-off. "We've gone through this process three times since I have been here," he says. "The collection is not static. If we hadn't de-accessioned, we wouldn't have the collection we have today."

Information: (937) 223-5277.

Make war: University of Cincinnati Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) students Elizabeth Ward and Jessica Sharpe decided to make the war in Iraq the center of their final for their installation art course taught by Matthew Lynch. The two young women tied together more than 2,000 finger-sized toy soldiers in long strands then draped the strands along walls close to one of the DAAP entryways.

"It's not necessarily a pro- or anti-war statement," says Ward. "It speaks to how far removed we are from the situation. It's about the troops that we have over there right now and our inability to understand what they're going through."

Ward and Sharp canvassed dollar stores, discount outlets and toy emporiums on a mission to buy every plastic solider they could find. "We wiped out the stores' supplies," Ward says.

The exhibit was mounted the night before the expiration of President Bush's ultimatum to Saddam Hussein. The work will be up until the end of the war.

Truth saved: The sculpture "Where Does Truth Lie" by Warren Hall that has languished before the Carnegie Center for Performing and Visual Arts for the past year has been saved thanks to Century Construction of Erlanger.

The large-scale piece that stood in front of the Covington art center for 25 years will be placed on the grassy lawn of the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption at 12th and Madison streets.

"When John Hodge at Century found out what it was going to cost to move it, he said 'That's crazy. We can take care of it for you,'" says Jennifer Weber, executive director of the Cathedral Foundation Inc.

"Truth" will be part of the "Centro de Amistad," or Center of Friendship, where the cathedral conducts its Spanish-speaking ministry work.

Duncanson Society salons: The Robert S. Duncanson Society of the Taft Museum of Art is sponsoring a new series of free Sunday afternoon salonlike talks. The lectures, by local literary, visual and performing artists, will be in studios, performance spaces and private homes. This month: 2-4 p.m. today, poet Annie Ruth at the African Suite Bed and Breakfast in Mount Auburn; 2-4 p.m. April 27, painter Anthony Becker in his studio in Camp Washington.

Information and schedule: Abby Schwartz at 241-0343.

Garden art: Stores throughout the Tristate are selling garden accessories - dwarves, balls, swans, jockeys, angels - you name it. This year, before you buy, take a look at what students, faculty and alumni from the Art Academy of Cincinnati have created and installed at the Civic Garden Center, 2715 Reading Road, and the Hauck Botanic Garden.

The exhibition runs through April 27. The grounds are open from 9 a.m. until dusk. An artists' reception is from 2-4 p.m. today.

Information: 221-0981.

People: Winners of the 39th annual Greater Hamilton Art Exhibit are: Best of show: Susan Beresford; second place in Two Dimensional: Alison Shephard; and second place in Three Dimensional: Kala-Ann Steedly.

Mary Mark is featured in April's issue of The Artist's Magazine. Titled "The Kindest Cut," the article describes the laborious step-by-step method she uses in her multicolored reduction linoleum block prints.

Cindy Harlan Youse's work is in the current issue of International Artist, and she was a finalist in the International Competition of Garden Painting.

Alfredo Bustinza has been awarded a fellowship by the Jentel Artist Residency Program.

E-mail mbauer@enquirer.com




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