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Material Witness: Eclectic Art in WPCA Show

Sep. 15, 2015
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The “2015 Annual Members Show” at Walker’s Point Center for the Arts (WPCA) is often an exuberant affair, and this year is no exception. About 200 pieces in varied styles, sizes and media grace the two main gallery spaces plus hallway. Hung in a mode known as “salon style,” the arrangement is interestingly eclectic. The exhibition showcases artist-members of WPCA, and while no single theme or description wraps comfortably around all of these works, there are some interesting trends detected.

Some of the artists seen previously at WPCA are included, such as Gina Litherland. Her pictures are often equal parts fairytale and surrealist dream, beautifully executed in a style recalling the Northern European Renaissance. The Murmur of Pearls, in which a mermaid coolly pauses under the light of a full moon, draws fantasy into the realm of the femme fatale, evidenced by the dapper man drowned underwater, thinly disguised by blue waves.

There are quite a few artists working with mixed media and assemblage as fully three-dimensional pieces or wall-hanging works. Ann Baer’s Hang Onto Your Hats, Mr. Potato Head is in Charge is a cabinet full of oddities: a doll’s head and feet attached to a box that acts as a body, an old-fashioned globe and furniture legs, game pieces, plastic toys and more. The aforementioned potato is a hidden detail but plugged in as though the whole crazy thing is his own dream.

In the grand scheme of the exhibition, there is not an overwhelming amount of work that seeks to make a social or political statement. One that overtly does is Barbara Budish’s Wrest. In this assemblage, a drawing of a woman is cut out in paper doll fashion and trapped in something like a piece of driftwood. A paper hand grabs her threateningly, and upon it is written a diatribe against the pollution of the oceans, concluding with an ominous question and prediction of Mother Nature’s revenge. It is a work that seeks not so much to tell us about the artist’s world and imagination, but to cause us to examine our own.

The “2015 Annual Members Show” continues through Oct. 3 at Walker’s Point Center for the Arts, 839 S. Fifth St.

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