Wednesday, October 31, 2007

This is not a review

Walked through a cloud of pot smoke in Grieg garden and the awkward ranting of sign-raising protesters to north campus today, to see the art faculty show at the Jacob Lawrence Gallery. It's a pretty little gallery, so a pretty little show, but a good variety of interesting work. Pretentious Title: This Is Not an Art Show, a reference to a seminal surrealist painting from 1928-29. Fortunately, if there was any surrealist work at the show, I didn't get the joke. I'm perfectly content with reality.

I went mostly to see something from Philip Govedare, who taught my favorite Art course and whose work I'd really love to emulate if I ever actually painted (and if I didn't feel overcome with guilt at the thought of mimicking an artist). The above work (pirated here from the interweb) is similar to the one on show.

Most of his work I've seen is a incredible amount of color used in a very controlled way, a fantastic balance between abstraction and representation; landscapes of sites that are "charged with the implications of use, development and ownership" strike me as socially, and maybe emotionally, relevant without any sense of self-righteousness or -indulgence. (Few artistic features turn me off more abruptly than overt emotion. I once saw some young capitol hill painter's painting of a distressed teenager in a bathtub with cutting marks on her arms. Give me a break. Painting something base is little more more evolved than doing it yourself. I respect your right to have issues, but I don't respect them as valid artistic subject.)

Other interesting paintings were a large abstract by Helen O'Toole and a small, very engaging portrait by Ann Gale. I never took their classes, and now I wish I'd both seen their work and had some female influence over my art degree. I don't exactly know if gender played any significant role in my experience as an art student, but in all those classes I only had 2 female instructors -- a really accessible, under-critical grad student, and one professor who I didn't care for. Fine with me that she was not represented at the show.

The "Jake" is free, open maybe 1-4 Tuesday-Friday.

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