Friday, February 02, 2007

Weekend Five: Fine Art

In recent years several movements to support live, local music have sprung up throughout Appalachia - I heartily approve of each and every dang one of them. Why? Because live, local music enriches our lives tremendously.

Here comes the curve-ball; I think we should support local everything. Musical arts, dramatic arts, visual arts, and so on. Now, I'm not abandoning my cosmopolitan ideals - support the arts of, well, everywhere you can. But as the environmentalists say, think globally, act locally. Buya.

In that spirit, I wanted to post on some fine artists in the region - some of them I know, others not so much; some of them we've mentioned here before (e.g. Yee-Haw), others less so. My suggestion? Peruse the artists, check out their work, and, if you've got the flow, make an order. Just that simple.

Commemorative print for the Yee-Haw 2006 Knoxville Museum of Art summer
exhibition (buy a copy and support an Appalachian institution here)
Julie Belcher and Kevin Bradley: Repetition. Its inevitable, especially when the subject repeated is completely awesome (Shakespeare, King Lear, act IV - - - probably). Julie Belcher (fellow former Bluefielder - go fighting chicory!) and Kevin Bradley's brainchild, Yee-Haw industries, is, was, and shall remain a masterpiece, the best print-making studio in the known universe. You want to know more - I know you do. Well, you might want to dig on the Knoxville Museum of Art site or this interview from EconoCulture.

"Web of Dreams" by Golubovic (check out her homepage here)

Mirjana Golubovic: Sometimes someone's website summarizes their work better than I can. Especially if that someone is an expert on the physics and chemistry of cellular biology. This is one of those instances. Consider:
My work is inspired by the landscapes and treescapes of West Virginia, the cosmopolitan context of modern culture, my new and old homeland tradition, my education, and my rigorous mathematical training for abstract forms of thought. Abstract art enables me to express truths and reality that may not be easily expressed through linguistic and mathematical forms.

Twelve years ago, after living in large cities of the United States and Europe, I moved to West Virginia. Having close contact with nature has been a new, inspiring experience for me. I am particularly interested in painting treescapes. Trees, with their cyclical changes, provide us hope. Their immobility exposes the struggle to grow, no matter whether the terrain is too steep or too exposed to the winds.

In my paintings, through colors, forms and themes, I try to convey my optimism, hope and joy, coupled with the struggle for survival in the harsh roughness that I absorb from the landscape around me.
Golubovic (oh, what a wonderful name) is exactly the kind of abstract expressionist I love - unafraid to openly embrace the essential truth that our composition and design as artists is utterly and necessarily grounded in our experiences in the real world. To put it in the most explicit of terms, Golubovic's work, in my opinion, favorably compares to that of my favorite living artist, Anselm Kiefer (Vaughn can testify what a major statement that is for me). Her work is fantastic, and I hope to see a heckuva' lot more of it.

"Father" by Harvey (check out his homepage here)

Syprian Harvey: Okay - putting aside Harvey's completely awesome name (makes me think of 1920s detectives, for some reason), this Asheville artist does some very intriguing work, reminiscent of the work of HR Giger (the guy whose work inspired the character and set design of Alien) amalgamated traditional African artwork - think industrial/organic. Harvey's work seems to be dominated, though by no means exclusively, by religious themes - specifically from the Jewish and Christian tradition. You might also want to check out this article from the Mountain Xpress, this one by our friends over at Ashvegas, or here, another of Syprian's sites.

"All About Eve" by Reis (check out her homepage here)

Jennifer A. Reis: To summarize Ms. Reis, a member of the faculty at Morehead State, I'll just quote the header to her website. Ahem:

Artist + Educator + Curator + Writer

There it is.

How does one describe the work of Ms. Reis? Hmm. Most of her work is textile-based; the amalgamation of beadwork and found objects, touching on themes ranging from mental health to religious themes. Her work is a joyous amalgamation of traditional Latin American iconography and composition with contemporary themes and the sort of visual lexicon that Keith Haring first graced us with. The outcome? Magnificent artwork that is infinitely approachable. Check out her blog, this short piece from the Tusca Center for Contemporary Art at the University of Kentucky, and this article from the Lexington Herald Courier on a joint show between Reis and one of her peers at MSU, Elizabeth Mesa-Gaido (which I wish I could have seen).

"Untitled" monotype of trees by Shroyer (check out his homepage here)

Walter Shroyer: Mr. Shroyer hails from my hometown of Bluefield, where he teaches up at Bluefield College (on the Commonwealth side of the line). On his website, Shroyer refers to himself as a Tree Artist, and his work, at least that I've found online, is predominately composed of ceramic and print medias. His sculptural work is focused on either the amalgamation of found materials with ceramic material, resulting in thematically unsettling meteoroids, or is symbolist, usually working from religious themes. His printmaking is, however, what I am obsessed with. The best way I can describe it is to assimilate pre-Qin dynasty Chinese calligraphy and penwork with contemporary printmaking materials and a complete and utter obsession with, well, trees. I love 'm. . . . so did Momma'. You also might want to check out this article from Southwest Virginia Community College.

Enjoy the art and please, buy original art for your home, office, school, or religious institution - it'll enrich your lives and help keep creative people here in our mountains.


Elvis Drinkmo said...

Great works of art!

And I agree with your premise that we should do everything we can to support local art.

Jesse Johnson from Charleston, who ran for governor in '04 and the U.S. Senate in '06, works with film and is a big advocate of starting a film industry in West Virginia. There is nothing I'd love more than to see movies produced by an Appalachian that shed light on what real life is like throughout the region without stereotypes or romanticisms- an Appalachian Spike Lee, if you will.

Our Goblin Market said...

Very nice Eric. One could write a book on the styles and artists working in the region. I am constantly amazed and refreshed by what I see coming from the mountains. What is evident is an exploration of the essential, even the harshest and most vital need of making. Yes Yes, buy original art. It helps to continue the exploration of the artist.