Sense of Place: “The World All Around”—currently on display at Gallery@Hotel Indigo through Sunday, June 9—explores both natural and manufactured environments through scientific investigation and subjective understanding. The “Ontological Road Map” series by Robert Walden—topographical illustrations in precise ink lines that represent not only the existence of a physical place but the labor-intensive process of mapmaking itself—complement the oil paintings of simple suburban landscapes by Meg Aubrey, which assign significance to seemingly mundane markers like sidewalks, mailboxes and manicured lawns. Michael Marshall’s “Lunar Cycles,” a large photograph of a luna moth spread on a colorful, aged map above a series of panels depicting the phases of the moon, and “Constellations,” a tattered black and blue butterfly similarly presented among starry skies, both contrast humble, delicate organisms with the vast, incomprehensible universe. “Nest,” a collaborative photographic patchwork by Jim Fiscus and Chris Bilheimer, collaged images of architectural structures by Dayna Thacker, and the meticulously textured drawings of the “Wild Bird Game” board game by Alex Murawski all take a subjective approach to reflecting on the environment.
The exhibit also includes a series of videos: “Cosmic Microwave Background” by Michael Oliveri; “Fox,” which was recorded by Justin Plakas using a motion detection camera to capture nighttime activity in the woods near a suburban neighborhood; and “Port and Starboard,” created by Adriane Colburn while on a seafloor mapping expedition during one of the warmest recorded summers in the Arctic.
Great Minds: The collaborative works of local artists Matty Goldstein and Graham Bradford—currently on display at The Globe and Jittery Joe’s downtown through the end of April—employ two unlikely media, wood and electricity, to create illuminated installations. Bradford’s
detailed, textural wood-stain portraits combine with the translucent vinyl and electrical knowledge of Matty Goldstein—who initially began his experimentation with electric art after studying sculpture at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and working in a commercial sign store in south Florida. The collaboration yields light boxes with a distinctive style and an idiosyncratic aesthetic.
Strongly influenced by both pop and subculture, several pieces borrow images from the likes of “Battlestar Galactica” and The Shining, as well as a bare-breasted Wendy O. Williams, punk icon and lead singer of the Plasmatics. In a tribute to Re-Animator, a wood-stain portrait of a woman warily eyeing a syringe stands beside a fluorescent green, hissing cat and real vials of glowing liquid. A more light-hearted piece, seemingly housed within an old TV box, features “The Price is Right” host Bob Barker on wood, with the show’s iconic number wheel in a vibrant, glowing background. Over the past two-year course, while sharing skills and motivating each other to stay focused on creating works, Goldstein and Bradford have also set up photo shoots to capture their own original images, including a sword-wielding Viking and two topless women with power tools and a severed pig head.
“It's kind of like being in a band,” describes Goldstein. “There is an initial idea, and we work on it together until we have a song, or a piece of art in this case… I love the vast span of our processes. From sawing wood to large-format printing technologies, we use what is available to us without losing the rawness of the hands-on process.”
Blue Ribbons: The 18th annual “Southworks” national juried art exhibition—currently on display at OCAF in Watkinsville through Friday, May 17—presents over 70 top works in painting, sculpture, fiber art, photography and more, selected by juror Harry DeLorme, Senior Curator of Education for the Telfair Museums in Savannah. “Love You to Death,” an oil painting by Manda McKay, received the honor of “Best in Show,” and additional merit awards were presented to a quilted industrial landscape by Elizabeth Barton (also on display at ATHICA), an abstract stoneware piece by Jorie Berman, a vibrantly hued painting of a neighborhood scene by Mary Porter, a three-dimensional steel wire portrait by Noah Saunders and a photograph by Ginger Goekjian.
In OCAF’s side gallery resides the annual “Director’s Choice” exhibit, this year featuring “Ghosts
in the Field,” a showcase of works by Jim Neel. Unsettling prints of horrific representational figures, such as young boys sporting assault weapons in a scorched field and a tarnished portrait of a double amputee child, line the walls alongside an eight-part narrative describing “ghost-boys led by a half-blind zealot” bent on destroying crops and engaging in battle. Occupying the center of the space is “Les Enfants de la Terre,” a sculpture series of terracotta children standing on weapons. Neel—influenced by his experience as a photojournalist covering warfare in El Salvador and other Central American countries during the '80s, a time when it was not unusual to see young children among the fighting forces—delivers a strong and confrontational message against the widespread, modern-day exploitation of children in armed combat.
OCAF is located at 34 School St. in Watkinsville, and the galleries are open 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.