The new batch of McGuffey Art Center members have put together a solid show to introduce themselves, and the artists honor the building’s roots as an elementary school, with, among others, Peter Krebs’ skyscapes presenting views you might see at recess, and Amber Zavada’s earnest earthwork constructions lining the halls.
“Aquarian Woman” and “Soul Travelling” attempt to deify the female body. A rope construction by Sonja Weber Gilkey.
For science class, Bethany Pierce’s small, luminescent paintings beautifully explore a cellular universe. “Horizon IV” is like the most exquisite cataract you’ve ever seen, a star exploding from an eye. For all the delicacy of paint, there’s still a strong painterly quality to her work. Pierce doesn’t smooth out her brush strokes, using them instead to move the viewer through the depths of her pieces. In “Umbilicus,” which draws from scientific realism, the viewers’ eye follows the strokes that create the cord-like structure, which floats along the plane of the picture as delicately as if it were in a womb.
Social studies class takes place in front of Darrell Rose’s mixed-media paintings. His bright, chaotic panels seem at first approach to be pulsatingly cheerful, but the semi-abstract figures are so distorted and bruised that we’re forced to realize an undertone of violence and disaster to the chaos. These figures dwarf the urban settings that line works like “New York, New York,” and “On the Block,” making us wonder if we should fear them or pity them. Across the hall from Rose, Dan Hildt’s mixed-media works fill the gallery air with the smell of asphalt, an element in his sculptural images. Hildt replicates moments on a road or parking lot where painters miss their mark, asphalt cracks, and leaves run into oil patches, using, it appears, the same materials. The shift from horizontal street scene to vertical wall hanging confronts notions of what makes a work of art.
In the upstairs gallery, Sonja Weber Gilkey continues to question the idea of art’s construction. Her zany rope sculptures, made from found objects and crafted ropes, draw from the craft-becomes-art tradition of feminist artists of the 1970s and retain that interest in intimidation. Oversized, strangely and deliberately figural, works like “Aquarian Woman” and “Soul Travelling” attempt to deify the female body, with a strong central axis delineating breasts, pelvis and buttocks.
On the other side of the hallway, the mixed media works of Aaron Eichorst can best be described as the after-school drama class—perhaps the best part of the day. Eichorst draws from theater, mythology, ancient architecture, psychology and a deep appreciation of both aesthetics and wit. Giant figures peek from small stages, flowers replace heads and eyes emerge from leaves. A numbered series subtitled “Grotesque” is unfairly mingled in with other works, forcing the viewer to jump around between “The Temple,” “The Shrine,” and “The Theater” in order to absorb the progression of these Italianate expositions. “The Temple” is the most frantic of the three, as Eichorst plays with color theory, linear perspective and an intimate understanding of Italian iconography. Eichorst and his fellow new members have a lot to teach us, and this exhibition should make for eager pupils.
Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as the United States’ 45th president today, and hundreds of Charlottesvillians are heading to D.C., not to celebrate his inauguration but to protest it on Saturday at the Women’s March on Washington. Cynthia Neff is organizing eight buses, and she
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Unlike NC… Governor Terry McAuliffe signs an executive order at UVA January 5 that prohibits state contractors from discriminating against gay and transgender people, and notes that the Tar Heel State has lost hundreds of millions of dollars because of its bathroom bill. Delegate Bob Marshall
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Former congressman Tom Perriello announced his surprise candidacy for governor of Virginia Thursday, upsetting the plans of many leading Virginia Democrats. In a hastily arranged speech at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center in downtown Charlottesville, Perriello spoke of how
Charlottesville’s legal community turned out today for Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Joe Platania’s official announcement that he wants the job of his boss, Dave Chapman, who will not be seeking a seventh term. Chapman introduced and endorsed Platania, whom he hired in the
Nearly 54 years ago, Charlottesville was rocked with the bizarre death of high school football star Pat Akins, 19, whose body was found under a red Triumph TR3 after purportedly having been dragged 12 miles from Crozet. Today his Rock Hill Academy classmate Jimmy Dettor is offering
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